My best friend Dani and I go back a long, long, long way. I’ve known this amazing woman for 20 years now. For the record, I’m 24 years old. That makes her my longest known best friend, and I could not imagine another I would rather have in the position. We don’t talk nearly as much as we should, but when we do it’s as though absolutely no time has passed and we’re just catching up on yesterday’s news. We share a sense of humor, remember (most of) our secret handshake and will always have a friend in one another. That’s longevity, my friends.
Among the myriad of shenanigans we found ourselves getting into as kids, the ones we remember fondest are of our movie making days. Way back when VHS tapes were still a thing and the family home video camera was the size of a microwave (and fit just as comfortably over your shoulder), Dani and I would routinely take a break from everyday life to do our own ridiculous little kid version of sketch comedy. House tours, commercial advertisements, exercise equipment demonstration, parental and celebrity impersonations (the children stars of All That totally count as celebrities, right?), lessons on the proper and improper methods of doing a cartwheel…all these and more filled hours of our time and just as many hours of video tape. Stored away in various containers in the attic somewhere are all of these childhood memories preserved in those magickal little black boxes of yesteryear.
Hitting the fast forward button to present day, the video making process has changed dramatically. Smart car sized video cameras have been replaced with tiny palm sized machines. VHS tapes have taken their rightful place inside of museums alongside the clunky grey Game Boy display. Instead, we use micro sized little SD cards to store infinitely more video than any old VHS tape ever could. What hasn’t changed in this whole shebang is our desire to record our memories in a way that preserves them more accurately than our brains ever could. Thus, the home video lives on.
This past weekend, my longest best friend married the man she loves. I was able to fly out to Wisconsin to see her and all of the family (still family even though I’ve grown about a million feet taller since last we all saw one another) and share in this momentous occasion. The keeper of her heart, a man named Jeff I met only just this weekend, makes her heartlight shine more radiantly than I can recall in our 20 years of friendship. Needless to say, he attained best friendly approval without much hesitation on my part. Old friends and new shared space with me on the dance floor, my second mother made sure that I ate like a king, and all the while we rang our little bells and clinked our glasses just to watch the happy couple kiss once more.
And keeping with tradition, I was in charge of the camcorder to record it all. From artsy fartsy shots of the country club grounds to the cigarette breaks before the big moment to doing my best to hold the camera steady while tears streamed steadily down my cheeks, I captured it all. Forgive me, Dani, if you hear a bit of my silly self sniffling in the background of your father daughter dance. I couldn’t help but break down at that point.
Cake was eaten, vows were exchanged, speeches were given, bouquets and garters were tossed, tears were shed, music was played, and memories were made. I am honored to have been trusted with recording these memories for my dear best friend and her husband. The official first home video of the new life they will share together. So many things change in this crazy world, but some things never will. Dani, be prepared for my wedding day. I’ll need you running the camera just like old times.
Until then, I want to send out all the love and light I can muster to Dani and Jeff. May you share a life of love and much happiness worth filling a canyon full of SD cards. Be well.