My childhood friend Barb (also known as The Gad About) loves Elvis. She even has a black velvet painting of him that used to hang in her living room. I know because I’m the one who gave it to her in the early ’70s. (Yes I’m telling my age, but …) She no longer has it hanging over her couch because she now lives in a small trailer, but she still has that portrait.
When Elvis came to St. Louis in the early ’70s to perform, Barb was the one who got up before 6 am and stood in line to purchase tickets for me and my co-workers. I paid for her ticket, but such devotion cannot be bought; it must be earned. Thanks to Barb’s devotion to Elvis and moi’ we got to sit in the 6th row. And lucky for us, one of my co-workers had a zoom lens on her camera so we got great photos too. There used to be an Elvis Museum in Wentzville, MO and Barb was offered $5,000.00 for her Elvis Concert photos. She declined even though she could have used the money. No one ever offered any money for my photos; so I cannot say what I’d have done.
When my son and I moved from Panama City, FL back to Cahokia, IL my friend Barb baby sat for me when Bernie had pneumonia so I could work. (As I said such devotion must be earned, and we’ve been helping each other for years). Our friendship has lasted even though we’ve spent many years apart, and are doing so again because I now live in the Dothan, AL area and she lives in Troy, MO. We didn’t get to see each other when I was “home” for my cousin Carla’s benefit due to the flooding, but we talked on the phone and bless her heart she even apologized to me for not getting together.
Our history has had some interesting moments: like when I was invited to Cheyenne, WY for Cheyenne Frontier Days and Dad changed his mind about letting me go after he said I could. Boy was I angry about that! (I was young and fearless at the time). Barb used to call me and I would drive over to St. Louis to give her and her son a ride to the Cahokia K-Mart so that she could buy diapers for her son who was so skinny that most diapers just fell off him. Other trips to the Cahokia K-Mart included purchasing conditioner that she used on her poodles. Often I would call her and she would come to my rescue: like when I needed someone to watch Bernie, or needed a ride to the doctor, or a tow for my car. We can never pay each other back for our devotion to each other, but we can give each other little tokens of love and affection, like the above picture and when I long ago took Barb to the Bevo Mill in St. Louis to celebrate her birthday and an Elvis Impersonator was there performing!. Happy Birthday, my friend.