Sometimes, when two folks meet, stars align and maybe even a supernova somewhere in space explodes. Immeasurable energy is created and it must be invested somewhere. That is the case when one Jess aka “Gup” Margeson and I met in Hawkinsville circa… well let’s just say we were children… and that supernova channeled its energy into our friendship.
I came in the house from a day of summer fun on our farm just out from town. Upon returning indoors, I found my mother propped up on the green and white cabana stripe wicker chaise in her room. Her toes were drying from a fresh coat of “Cajun Shrimp” having been recently applied. This was Mama’s color eleven months out of the year. “Big Apple Red” was applied at Christmas.
This scenario was not an odd one for my sisters and me to witness. Mama was pretty religious when it came to her nail color. As I passed by her bedroom door, she waved and woowhooed at me. “I just met the cutest, sweetest, precious, Christian girl. I think y’all should get married. If not, she’s gonna be your best friend I know. I already love her. She liked my nail polish and hair. She’s raised right!” That’s all it took for Jess to brand herself to Mama’s heart.
I was about eleven years old at the time and a SPCG (the acronym given in my family to such gals of merit) for me to be friends with let alone marry was not on my radar. Yet, as mamas do, they have these inklings and premonitions when it comes to their children. The “SPCG” in mention was none other than the former Miss Jessica Elizabeth Vinson. Nowadays she is better known as Jess “Frou Frou” Mrs. Matt Margeson. Her family had just moved to town and serendipitously down the street from us. Fate and destiny are one thing, noting could asunder what my mama joined together.
Pretty soon, Jess and I were friends. We rode the bus together to our school in the next town and thus had plenty of time to bond. Then nicknames “Gup” and “Doodle’ formed, respectively, as in line with all good friendships boasting nicknames. There are stories to the nicknames but I shan’t digress. We survived middle school together. When high school came around, Jess moved to the big ol’ city of Macon. There we kept in touch by phone, met for our overalls donned dates at THE Fair (when you’re from my neck of the woods, the Georgia National Fair is simply know as THE Fair. There is no other fair in our minds) and I even abused her GAP employee discount all throughout high school proper and into college as well. Those were darker days in our friendship since a twenty-mile stretch of I-75 separated us. When you cannot drive yourself to or from Macon, that I-75 corridor might as well be the Atlantic.
College brought us back together into the same town proper. Auburn called and we answered. After announcing to our respective families that we were going to live together, we had to dissolve said scheme and live in proper boys and girls dorms due to the near coronaries we caused our Mamas. Those dorms were fun, but if only Gup and Doodle could have cohabitated collegiately, there would’ve been volumes more to share. We practically did spend every moment we could together at Auburn. Our dorms were literally across the street from one another. I even (excuse the bravado and boasting but this a collegiate accomplish of great aptitude at Auburn) was able to sneak past “Miss Minnie” the dorm mother and hide out past curfew in Jess’ dorm room. It may have been time by the dormitory’s rule book for “gentlemen callers to leave” but Jess and I were often not through crafting, scheming our next adventure or simply rehashing the same ol’ childhood funnies over and over. Somehow, the stories we tell get funnier with age and repetition of telling!
Jess set her sights on a KA pledge named Matt. He fit her specific bill for what she was looking for in a man. Matt fit the bill with me because he asked me to “please keep dating Jess” when they get married. “I think it is the only way this will work” he said.
I did the flowers for their wedding (with a 102 temp and the flu mind you… hey… what are friends for?) and Jess has accompanied and crafted with me on weddings, parties and events across The South. From Richmond to Montgomery, we’ve decorated and decked the halls in many a Confederate capital city. Her floral design business, Frou Frou is based in Opelika, Alabama, so she remains close to the “Promised Land – the rolling plains of Dixie, ‘neath the sun kissed skies.”
For my latest story in Southern Living, I had to have Jess as my wingman. Celebrating Fall in Cashiers was enough to get me thrilled beyond repair, but having Jess alongside made it that much better. We cut beauty berry, leaves, branches and grasses all up and down the mountain highways and byways and loaded “Goldie” my suburban down with every heirloom pumpkin we could carry. What the two of us can do with a pumpkin is nothing short of magical! Ha! Jess is great at the small stuff and I like the big stuff. I tackled the mantels (mainly because I could reach them… I’m 6’4” and she’s a good 5’ and slight change) and she tackled the pumpkins. We meet in the middle at the table and the job gets done!
There is something so sound about doing what you love for a living. Jess and I have found our passions and created professions. We are fortunate enough that our businesses coincided and can collaborate regularly. Work isn’t so much work as it is a blast of fun! Having a friend like Jess is one of my life’s greatest blessings in general. Having a friend that I’ve known and loved and can rave about how much I love sheet moss is a precious gift.
So peruse the pages of the October Southern Living and see our work. What the pages don’t show are our selfies, our work “uniforms” and Jess stealing my Plainswear hat. You can keep it Gup!
Happy fall y’all. I hope y’all have a friend or two like I do – if so, I know you’ve a cornucopia of blessings!