When I was growing up, having a bad reputation was a shameful thing any proper young lady should strive to avoid. Don't call boys on the phone (as opposed to letting them call you) or you'll get a bad reputation. Don't wear your skirts too short or you'll get a bad reputation. Don't stay out past your curfew or you'll get a bad reputation. You get the idea.
But despite all these warnings, I have a bad reputation...just not the one my mother had in mind with her cautionary advice. Such is the burden I bear as being the only one in our circle of friends who doesn't hop out of bed at the crack of dawn.
I was up early this morning, however. It was Dale and Carol's last day here before heading north for the summer, and I intended to join Wayne and them on their morning walk at 7am. You'd have thought I wore a short skirt while calling a boy after curfew for all the fuss that created. Dale clutched his chest in a feigned heart attack upon seeing me. Carol claimed surprise and Bonnie wanted to know if I was sleepwalking. Hiram rushed for the camera, intent on taking a photo of all of us with the date and time displayed...proof that I could indeed be upright and sociable (mostly) at an early hour. This group cuts no slack.
It's a once-a-year thing, reserved for the last day before Dr. Dale and Miss Carol make their get-away...and since I did it last year, too, I suppose it's become a tradition. It wouldn't be nearly so meaningful if I walked with them at that time of day on a regular basis; we'll reserve it for the send-off.
So we walked and then sat to talk together for a few extra minutes before hugging our goodbyes and setting off in separate directions. We'll miss them. Somehow I think they'll let me come visit...even though I have something of a bad reputation. And one day of conforming to the group norm isn't going to go very far to change it either.