Sunday Gratitude: Of Sharks, Inside Jokes and Forever Friends

I grew up in rural Westchester County, New York (well, it was rural then not so much now) and suburban Connecticut–I challenge anyone to have had a better childhood than mine running out the door and into the woods, kickball on the dead-end street, hiking the Hudson Valley mountains most weekends of spring, summer and fall. In New York, my family and another were “besties”–I considered the three kids of the other family siblings.

As life goes, we have pursued different routes as we’ve grown up–our parents have moved to Chicago (mine) and Florida (theirs) and the family homes sold, but we have stayed close in that way of first and forever friends. We don’t need to talk often or see each other all the time to be there for each other. One of them, Susan, has lived for the last almost thirty years in Scarsdale, about 30 minutes outside of New York. And now, her house is for sale and she is leaving Owl range and heading far south.

On our way to a soccer game in New York, we stopped for dinner to see Susan and her husband. They had brought a present for the Owlets–a shark jaw with all of its grinning sharp teeth. And if you didn’t know, and you wouldn’t, sharks are one of our many inside jokes after forty-plus years of friendship. Every time one of us visits the other, a shark will appear — in a gift mug at the bottom, a plastic one hid under a pillow or inside a cabinet, a shark ornament, a shark lamp.

And I know you won’t find it at all funny but we do. Why? Because one evening many years ago now, we watched the world’s best worst B movie called Sharknado where a tornado of sharks eats pretty much the whole cast of Baywatch, but Tara Reid survives without an arm, and one of the old stars of Beverly Hills 90210 or whatever that was called is the hero and purposefully gets eaten while holding a chainsaw and then saws his way out from the inside of a shark. Got it? Probably not. And while we hold six advanced degrees between the three of us (her husband was forced to watch this too), this strikes us as hilarious. Mr. Owl has tried to stay clear of our hilarity, but unfortunately for him, the owlets also enjoy the crazy.

I try not to be sad that Susan is moving away and instead find the gratitude for all of the inside jokes of 40 years (we have more, no point in trying to explain) and the knowledge that we are forever friends. And plan the future shark attack for our next visit.

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