The Elephants We Dance Out of the Room

Renae Brabham

Our small chapter started with the realization that we were simply good for each other's souls. When together, we didn't necessarily dwell on the maladies that existed below the forced smiles. Death, illness, pain, hurt, questions, anxieties... Somehow, for a short spell while we were together, the elephant in the room disappeared. And then, as life does, it proved that there was always going to be an elephant and if there is, we might as well dance with it. 


And dance we do. Midnight in pajamas—Soul Train style—around the kitchen island as the blender chops our ice into a magical Pina Colada concoction while Harry Nillsen's song "Lime in the Coconut" plays. But, it's so much more now. It doesn't end when the blender goes into the dishwasher. We draw from it, we give it wings (or brooms.)  No matter where we are, we are connected and protected by our collective strength. 
We have our Ya Ya Sisterhood generated names. Duchess Culture Vulture, Empress She Sings In The Rain and Queen of Chocolate. That's right, there were a grand total of three Ya Yas. We had the smallest chapter in the nation for seven years. It was painfully obvious how selfish we were as we sat with our umbrella drinks at Coconut Joe's one lazy Saturday afternoon. The hostess paraded a group of 15 t-shirt professed Ya Yas by us. I went over to talk to them and they told me that most had flown in from other states to be together. One asked "How many are in your group?"  I sheepishly replied "Three."  We have done better since then. We are four with the addition of Princess Fresh As A Daisy.  And... we have two new inductees this spring!  
Initiation is hilarious and top secret. But requirements are simple: 
  • Leave the drama for the llamas.
  • Must have the ability to say and hear truth
  • Availability at three o'clock in the morning for an ear bender if needed 
  • Accept each others' individuality and inadequacies
  • Ability to lift or drag fair share of up to 250 pounds of dead weight
Decisions are made by unanimous votes. For example, on a Ya Ya trip to North Carolina, two decided that one's choice of music sucked. Her Melinda Doolittle CD shines on for the magpie today off of I-40 between Columbia and Charlotte. 
Ya Ya's are women who can put lipstick on in the dark, but slice a green tomato with their tongue. They have steel resolve (shovels, guns, and cauldrons.)  They are fierce as eagles, talons sharpened and ready to defend family or loved ones. They can put on a shindig like you have never seen, a la Top Chef or roadside diner. 
Think... Witches of Eastwick, Practical Magic, Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, Steel Magnolias, Beaches, Cocktail, and Fried Green Tomatoes all rolled up into one.  
This past weekend as I sat in the room with the Ya Yas, I looked around and realized there were a lot of elephants in the room today. I thought of all of the past elephants. Memories now, a new circus arrives to replace them. But... oh, how often this group of gals has rallied over the years for each other and danced those elephants right out of the room. 
Seconds later, the laughter rang out as Duchess appeared with "the broom." We all take our turn at making it stand by itself. Our powers are limited only by what we refuse to believe, and is at its strongest when we are together. (Actually, one of us can talk warts off, but only if you get her before her third glass of wine.)  
We all like to think we have a special power, and we do, but we are strongest when we are together. Our power comes from love and faith, sprinkled with a little imagination and dogged fortitude. 
And to think, if we had waited for those elephants to leave, we would have never danced.