I’m going to reminisce about the tradition that was born out of frustration, but resulted in new knowledge, new friends, and some new-old glassware and shoes.
In March of 2020, I had the biggest show of my life. I had created a very special collection of work for a very special purpose, and I was stoked. I had speaking engagements and celebrations all lined up, and a modest wardrobe at the ready to look my best. And then…nothing. Now I had things to wear and nowhere to wear them. As did so many of us, collectively.
My art exhibition at Bonner David Galleries was supposed to kick off with a reception on Friday, March 27, 2020. We called all our guests and asked them to stay home. But I wanted to see the show hung! So, I put on my fancy cowboy boots, snapped a selfie in the back yard, and we were off. Randy and I stopped to pick up take-out at Rusconi’s and we headed to an empty gallery. I had a musician for the night and I hated to cancel, so I told her she could stay home, but I would still pay her. She decided to come and play her beautiful music anyway. Her audience was me, Randy and gallery director, Christi Manuelito. In the early days before the mask ruled, distance was king, and so we did. We wept as she sang. Outside the gallery doors, the streets were empty, it was all very surreal.
My collectors were enthusiastic about my new work, despite the absence of a reception, and all my paintings found great homes. I was, and am, so grateful. I decided to I put my head down and keep working. But on weekends, we hopped in True Blue and explored where we could, rediscovering our state and gathering new inspiration for the next series of paintings.
Fridays kept coming, and my need to get dressed up and have cocktails with friends was squashed.
So, organically really, I kept a Friday night date with myself going. I did my hair and makeup, put on a dress, poured a beer or made a cocktail, snapped a photo to share, and wished everyone a Happy Friday!
And then more Fridays came.
Now I was out of frocks. I went to the guestroom closet. I found old dresses; from cruises, from weddings, even from high school formals, and pulled them out of their dry-cleaning bags. I thought maybe I would dress to match a painting I was working on, or the drink I wanted to try. Or recreate a historic photo, and yes, I made a dress out of the plastic tarp. It was a logical step to repurpose the plastic after we had repainted the laundry room (by now we were all remodeling, and baking bread).
A few months went by and I had worn everything in the guestroom closet. I had to pivot.
I don’t wear a mask well at all, maybe 5-10 minutes, tops. So I made it a game: run into Goodwill or the resale shop, grab something interesting and cheap off the rack, and let that inspire the Friday night. Or get a local beer (thus supporting our hurting tap rooms) and maybe design the Friday night around that? I found beautiful old glassware at the Sunshine acres thrift store, that needed new life too. And this, and that, and suddenly I was down rabbit holes of history, cocktail lore, you name it. It became a creative outlet of ADD abandon. I was amusing myself, learning new things, and I was making new friends, and that was fun.
I learned about Sake, Tears for Fears, Culver bar ware, the history of cowgirls, and the history of back Friday. I learned that toasting without eye contact is bad luck, that blonds do have more fun and are just as smart as brunettes. I learned why porter is called porter, that Gray Duck is better than Grey Goose, that Ball jars are responsible for Ball State. And most importantly, I learned that I don’t look good in a beret at 55, but I sure looked cute in one when I was 3.
A lot of you have told me you know it’s Friday night when you see my post. Some of you have said you’ve learned new things. Some of you have sent me your own Friday night snap shots. Ultimately, it became a way to connect. And that was a gift. It gave me something to look forward to, to prepare for, to anticipate. That was good for my brain, and my heart.
I look back at our 52 Fridays together and I smile. We had fun didn’t we? They really are a means to an end. A way to create conversations, engage, lighten a dark mood.
And speaking of an end, where does this new Friday night tradition end? Or maybe, how does it continue, is a better question? Fridays will keep coming, I see a bunch of them in my calendar this year.
I think I will still post from time to time, if its ok with you.
What I’m dreaming of next is a real-life celebration on a Friday night. A celebration of humanity and perseverance and pivoting. A celebration of what we have in common. An event where we can dress up, look into each other’s eyes, and raise a toast!
So stay tuned, maybe we’ll plan that for 52 Fridays from now. You know, so you have time to hit the thrift stores, and plan a really great outfit to wear.
So here’s to you Friday night, you are a constant in our lives, a celebration at the end of a good week, relief at the end of a bad week, a reason to gather, a reason to reflect, a reason to be thankful.