Whenever I hear the word amoeba, I think of my friend Caitlin. Also chainsaw, Argentina, co-housing, lacrosse, red bandannas, Twisp, and it’s bedtime for bonzos. Caitlin and I have been friends for about half our lives, and if you can’t tell already, she’s awesome. She makes running relay races with chainsaws look easy, and if you’ve got a large body — I mean carcass — that you need to dispose of, she’s your woman.
Caitlin and I met on account of the fact we are both Alligator Cowgirls. In other words, we worked our butts off with the rest of the awesomefaces at Ekone Ranch Summer Camp. We bucked hay, wrangled children, jumped horses bareback, got Ekone tans that washed off back home, did something on the way to doing something else, and slept out under the stars and the UFO’s.
In 1998, I took a weekly ballroom dance class with Caitlin and her Vashon Island friends. After class, I would sleep over in the house her mom had bought from the fire department for a dollar and moved to the co-housing community. Every class they played the same song, and we danced the same dance, sometimes with real boys. Hey, the song began, I ain’t no amoeba! Then the instruments came in, we positioned our hands in dance position (push, push! communicate!) and stumbled over each other’s feet. Are you ready for a thing called loooove?
Well, speaking of, I just watched Caitlin get hitched this weekend. She married into a long-time farm family in the Skagit. Her husband Tom grows blackberries. On purpose. He’s a smart guy and a hard worker. They got married in a Catholic church, with both a Catholic priest and a Buddhist priest presiding. Beforehand, Caitlin’s nephew roamed the pews giving handkerchiefs to likely criers. That kid has a good frequent cryer scanner — I ended up with two hankies.
Afterwards, people poured into the reception hall for a salmon dinner. People just kept pouring and pouring. They had to go get more chairs. About 160 people had RSVP’ed, and about 250 showed. Luckily, Cook Chris from Ekone had headed up dinner, Alligator Cowgirls assisting, and there was plenty.
There were toasts from grandfathers and children. There was line dancing. There was homemade wine. Caitlin’s hankie-dispensing nephew dominated the dance floor, until he fell asleep under the coat rack in his cowboy boots. Later on, I ended up at the bar listening to fellow Alligator Cowgirl Sykie talking to one of Caitlin’s old college logger sports team mates, who calls Caitlin “Hippie.” That’s the thing about Hippie — she can just bring everybody together. Hippies, rednecks, Catholic farmers, Alligator Cowgirls, all loving the same thing: Caitlin and Tom. Which makes her, we realized, just like Waylon Jennings.