I have tried; I really have. And it’s nothing new. This has been going on since, well, ever since I can remember. Sometimes I feel like the little zebra who stands before St. Peter at the pearly gates. He says, “I’m confused. All my life I have wondered if I am white with black stripes or black with white stripes.”
St. Peter replies, “Well, if you are white with black stripes, you are what you are. If you are black with white stripes, you is what you is.” And that, folks, is my favorite and only joke. I laugh every time I tell it which has been a long time, since I first heard it in the fourth grade. It kinda goes along with, “Mom, are we Jewish? “Only on Jewish holidays when we go to Grandma’s.” was her reply. Simple.
So, I wore a gold cross around my neck on Sundays when I attended the Canarsie Dutch Reformed Church, and the Star of David when we went to see Grandma Gussie in Williamsburg (Brooklyn). One time I forgot to change the necklace and Uncle Irving ripped the cross off my neck while screaming in Yiddish, spit flying everywhere.
I became a quiet little girl. When I got to high school that changed; I became a cheerleader as well as a member of the Chess Club. I had one foot in each camp: the popular group and the nerds. All these years later, I still have friends from all walks of life. Yes, I am a chameleon. Will the real Carole Jean please stand up? Go stand over there with Slim Shady.
Recently, I spent almost two months bouncing from pillar to post in California. I went for a family wedding and stayed for an airline reunion more than a month later. During that time, I stayed with friends who ranged from strippers and pole dancers to the Country Club set where I got in trouble for locking doors at one house and for not locking them at another. You gotta learn the rules when you are the house-guest.
I’m back home in Costa Rica hanging out with Toby, my Chocolate Lab. Toby’s only rule is if I give him unconditional love, he gives it back to me. Oh, yeah, and food, too. Toby wants food and belly rubs and doesn’t care about much else. I can do that.
Now that I am home, I am reflecting and savoring every single friend that housed me, entertained me, showered me with gifts, dinners, fine wine, and treated me like a cherished treasure. I treasure you as well. I’m happy I don’t fit in – if I did, I might have missed out on having you (fill in the blank, you know who you are) in my life.
I love you unconditionally, just the way you are, my friend. I will also give you food and belly rubs if you come on-a my house. And maybe make you a cake!