Once upon a time in a land far away (not really far away - in fact, the land is right here where I'm sitting) there lived a little girl named Lari who had some really great besties. There was Laura, Jennifer, Nichole and Heather. They were really good little friends, particularly me with Laura and Jennifer, and we had all kinds of little girl fun playing and riding our bikes up and down Luck Drive back in the day when only one or two cars came down the road during the daytime hours. We walked all over the town - downtown to Norton's grocery store for a soda or down to the old Sno Shak that used to be by Purple Turtle, or down to Purple Turtle for some gems. We always walked when we went that far, I think because it was just too much work to ride the bikes uphill back home. We walked to the pool and stayed for hours. When we were older we would go down to University Mall, where we somehow managed so waste an entire Saturday on only $5 in cash.
In high school, we skipped far too many classes and ran out of gas enough times on long lunches off campus that you would think we would learn our lesson (in our defense, the gas gauge in Jennifer's old Mercury didn't work).
During those idyllic years of growing up, we all agreed that we would all get married and have kids at the same times so our kids could grow up together, and we would all live on the same street so we could have Sunday afternoon BBQs together. You know, literal BFFs and all that.
But we didn't get married close to the same time. And we didn't live by each other. And I'm pretty sure we don't have kids the same ages. We don't even talk all that often. It is the sad part of growing up . . . and growing apart.
But life has a funny way about it. Who knew 20 years ago when I married Lane that I would end up right back on Luck Drive? And yet here I am. And while Jennifer doesn't live in her house at the other end of Luck Drive, she does live about 2 blocks away. And Nichole doesn't live very close by either, but she is in my ward and I see her nearly every Sunday.
There have been no Sunday BBQs, but we went on a cruise with Jennifer and her husband 2 years ago, and we go out to dinner once in a while. I text Heather every now and then and we usually get together for lunch every year - although this year hasn't happened yet. Totally my fault. I'm being difficult.
Anyway, all this has been on my mind as I head out every day for my evening walk. My return route brings me past Jennifer's new house (and her old house) and some other houses that weren't there back in the day. And I think of all the people who maybe didn't grow up on Luck Drive specifically, but in the old Pleasant Grove 13th Ward, and how many of them have returned to the old neighborhood. Not only are Jennifer and I here, but so are several of the Weights, among others.
And if I close my eyes for just a minute (which I can do and still safely arrive at home, having walked these streets so much over the last 42 years), I can still see 3 little girls on bikes, going up and down Luck Drive. Crashing sometimes. Happy always.
5 hours ago