The Observer has a far-flung friend named Amy, who followed her dreams awhile back to a spot halfway around the world. She is currently living and teaching in Abu Dhabi; that tall, thin, southern-drawly girl from good ol' White Hall, shipwrecked on the endless, oceanless beach. On her vacation year before last, she went to Venice. This year, she scooted on over to Nepal, and sent us photos she took of Everest, out the window of a circling plane. Later, she walked the streets of the fabled Katmandu, likely while humming Bob Seger's song of the same name, God help her. Pretty good for somebody who used to sling pulled pork and 40-ounces at Sims Bar-B-Que.
Back in the day, before she joined the international jet set, Amy used to live up the street from The Observatory, a long-time friend — befriended when she worked a semi-thankless job at the Arkansas Times even further back in the day — who became a neighbor zany enough to qualify for sitcom sidekick glory. When the snow flew on Maple Street, she would inevitably bundle up and traverse the slick and treacherous hill to our little domicile, to shelter in place with box wine, macaroni and cheese and Netflix for at least part of the day. She's a card, not to mention damn charming when she's tipsy, and filled those days with laughter. These days, she sends us postcards and knickknacks, all her envelopes and shipping boxes decorated with lovely postage stamps featuring stony-faced rulers and proud falcons. It makes The Observer feel very small to know that a house key to The Observatory is likely rattling around on Amy's keyring, somewhere in the desert on the other side of this blue/brown marble we all call home. Very small indeed.
When snow came again to Maple Street last week, The Observer was delighted to open a message on Dr. Zuckerberg's Fantabulous Book of Face and find a desert dream from our old friend. She keeps up with us, as we all keep up with each other, via the Internet, periodically letting us have a glimpse of her strange and sweltering life, long enough in that strange land now that she is a stranger no more. These days, she qualifies as an expat. Somehow, our friend has remade herself into a child of the world.
From the tone of her message of last week, however, dare we say she was homesick for snow? It's a possibility, we suppose, though the older we get the less we like it. Starve us of what meteorologists inevitably get around to calling "The White Stuff" for a few years, though, and The Observer would likely come to enjoy it very much. Here's the message Amy of Arabia wrote to us on our snow day:
"I see the Ice Man Cometh and I think of the time I went to see you on one of those days. I walked and fell. I gave myself sustenance from the teat of box wine as I rested in the aftermath of a particularly harrowing fall, some preteens on cardboard boxes sledding past not even giving a fare thee well to the blonde middle aged woman become Michelin tire man who had temporarily succumbed. I came, after a bit of travail, with roasted nuts, Velvetta and the rest of the box wine, only five glasses lacking. You opened your doors, welcoming this zany traveler into your home: Mr. Kitty and pretty Lisa and reclusive Sam. I drank and talked and passed the hell out on the couch. Happy Ice Day from Ruwais."
Like we said: wacky, zany, a neighbor worthy of "Three's Company" or "Seinfeld." Only difference these days is she's a neighbor who lives on the other side of the planet. We can always use more of those.