Tonight Tyler and I went with our good friends Derrick and Sherry to the National Finals Rodeo. It was so fun! Not kidding, every time I go to a rodeo (even the po-dunky ones at the sheep festival in Cedar City) I think we should move somewhere and our kids can be cowgirls and boys. As soon as we walked into the arena I noticed all the pink shirts on the officials, the cowboys, and on A LOT of the audience. I asked Derrick and Sherry if they knew what the deal was with all the pink. We obviously didn't get the memo that pink was soo in at the rodeo.
One of the first bareback riders was wearing these pink and purple chaps and I thought, "Well, this is NOT the rodeo I remember going to; these guys are really prissy to wear those colors." The announcer then explained that the rider was wearing his cousin's chaps who died at the age of 26 from the cause that all those pink shirts were supporting. Then it clicked, that this night was about honoring breast cancer. Duh, think pink, right? Sure enough, about halfway through the rodeo, in between one of the roping and one of the bucking events, the NFR presented a 2.5 million dollar check to the "Tough Enough to Wear Pink" organization for breast cancer research. So cool. I immediately thought of Marsha . . . I got a little misty-eyed, and it wasn't because of the manure.
Marsha is my mom's best friend EVER. For as long as I can remember as a kid Mom and Marsha have been BFFs and then FABs and whatever other nicknames they wanted to give to each other. Marsha's daughter Megan was right between me and Erin, so she was my friend in Sunday School (since her b-day was in Dec.) and Erin's at school (since she was in the grade below. We spent MANY nights at the Nelson's house for slumber parties and MANY afternoons playing at the Nelsons. I remember watching Fraggle Rock and Savannah Smiles AND the premier of the Thriller video at their house since the had HBO, which indicates their cool factor. Our parents were part of this uber-clique and would have parties and BBQs and I remember vividly having to eat hot dogs whilst the adults feasted on steak on summer afternoon in the Nelson's backyard. We probably slept over on their trampoline. They had cool toys, too. LIKE the tree house and the kitchen that actually had water come out when you played with the sink. They had this old bronco (I think that was the car) that you could climb all over the seats and NOT get in trouble for having your feet on the seats, which was pretty exciting in my life. Once, when I went to the grocery store with Marsha, I stole a piece of candy and lied about it. I thought I got away with it since I told her my mom gave me money. Who was I kidding? Mom and Marsha were/are as close as sisters and I'm sure Marsha knew I was lying my fool head off since she knew Mom wouldn't send me with money. The Nelsons were really a cowboy and girl family and I remember being excited any time we got to ride their horses, or go to the corrals, or see any of the Nelsons in a parade. Once we moved to Vegas, it was always a treat to have the Nelsons come to visit for the NFR or to go back to Burley and visit. Marsha always treated us like one of her kids, and on one summer visit I was assigned the chore of laundry and Marsha was pretty indignant when she realized I washed towels with all the jeans. Oops, maybe next time I could have mowed the lawn on the riding lawn mower (really, how cool is that?) When I got married, Marsha was there. She's one of those women I have admired and would call a second mom, without hesitation. SO, of course, tonight I was already thinking of the closest country roots I have, and that meant Marsha.
Marsha was just diagnosed with breast cancer, and it's been a real bummer deal. I mean, I know it doesn't work by getting cancer because you deserve it, ESPECIALLY because Marsha is about THE person to deserve anything so ugly and nasty. The older I have gotten the more I have appreciated the friend Marsha is to my mom AND to me (and Erin.) Erin and I like to hang out with Marsha and Mom has to remind us that she's her friend and not so much ours, but it's hard to tell when Marsha is so easy to talk to, when she genuinely cares about our little families, and when she sends me sweet notes congratulating me on unexpected pregnancies EXACTLY on a day when I was having a really hard time wrapping my brain around it all.
So, tonight, here's a shout out to Marsha! I love you and think about you often. You will rock this cancer thing cuz you are a strong woman and this cancer think has nothing on you and your greatness. I can't say thanks enough for all you've added to my life, but that's okay, cuz I'll have a long time still to say it all!