Thursday, July 2, 2009
Everyday Heroes: Pookie
In 2003, I was standing outside of my four-plex on 15th Avenue South, right on Powderhorn Park, in Minneapolis. It was the first Sunday in May, which in my neighborhood meant one thing: MAY DAY PARADE!
The May Day Parade in Minneapolis is no joke. What started as a small gathering of local hippie types has turned into the largest neighborhood festival in the Twin Cities. Fifty thousand individuals gather to watch a spectacular event that celebrates labor rights and the return of Spring. Life size and larger than life puppets, created by In the Heart of the Beast Mask and Puppet Theater, wander through the South Side and entered the park directly across the street from my former residence.
On this particular May Day, Lindsay Selvig, a former friend and colleague of mine waltzed over and introduced me to her girlfriend: Andrea Nordick. Little did I know that Andrea aka Pookie would become one of my best friends. Lindsay and Andrea broke up shortly after I met Andrea (from hence she shall be referred to as Pookie). The summer after their break up, Pookie and I became reacquainted as volunteers for a summer youth leadership social justice program of the Unitarian Church. Pookie, my pal Gunnar, and I were adult allies that provided mentorship to the program run by my junior high school (now former) chum Quiana Perkins (is it a coincidence that my two former friends Lindsay and Quiana are now bosom buddies...me thinks not). Anyway, that summer I discovered that Lindsay's portrayal of Pookie was actually a project of Lindsay's nutso crazytown behavior on Pookie. To be real, my love Pookie has her own struggles...but in a crazy contest between Lindsay and Pookie...Lindsay would end up in a dark padded cell, in a dirty straight jacket, licking the backs of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches while Pookie would get off with some light therapy.
Not long after that summer, I received an email from Pookie about a job opening at the Girl Scout Council of Greater Minneapolis. At the time, I was stil working with Lindsay at YouthLink, Minnesota's largest service agency for homeless youth. I applied for the gig at the Girl Scouts, and a few months later I was switching offices from downtown Minneapolis to Sabathani Community Center.
Pookie and I started having lunch a few times a week at Quang's (best Vietnamese EVER), and that lunch time relationship morphed into a powerful friendship. There is nothing that Meatballs over rubbery rice noodles and bun (pronounced BOON) with beef and fried tofu can't handle.
Since the fall of 2004, Pookie and I have supported each other through many a hard time. We have laughed together, cried together, and she even hid cereal from me. Pookie is now a brilliant lawyer, continues to be a brilliant friend, and, though she is a major worry wart and an OCD clean freak (beware of FRANKY)...I love her tons and tons and tons and tons and tons.
She is one of my everyday heroes.