The Boxer Rebellion / by Courtney Mehlhaff

Last week, as I was making plans for a friend to visit my place, I jokingly mentioned that I'd be sure to clean up all the underwear that's normally strewn about my apartment.

And that reminded me of a story.

When I was about 13, I went to a friend's house one afternoon. He and another friend and I were walking down the hallway to hang out in his bedroom when he suddenly stopped me.

"Hang on a sec, I need to clean up in there."

He and his friend disappeared into the room for what seemed like AGES, as I impatiently wondered what those guys could possibly be tidying up for so long. 

"Okay, you can go in now," he finally said, throwing the door open wide.

And there, draped over every single thing in his bedroom, was every single pair of underwear he owned. He and his friend had pulled them from his dresser and decorated the place to welcome me. And make me laugh, which of course I did.

Remembering this made me miss my middle-school friend terribly. I hadn't seen him for years. So I randomly called him on a Thursday night. He picked up the phone, incredulous and happy. "Puddin'?!" (the story behind that nickname will have to wait).

I said, "I had to call because I just told the story about that time I came over to your house, and you said you had to clean up your bedroom before I could go in . . ."

But he was already laughing so hard I didn't need to finish.