Under Santa Fe Skies

by Susan Tungate

Hippo Birdie Two Ewes, Susan

Today is my friend Susan’s birthday. She lives in New York. I don’t. In fact, we have not lived in the same place at the same time for about 30 of the 34 years we have known each other. We could have eaten more meals or taken more walks in the city together had we lived nearby all these years, but we could not be closer.

Before the internet, we wrote each other long letters. Susan wrote her letters on yellow legal paper in her tiny perfect script. Often the letter included a bit of some dialogue she overheard on the subway that morning on her ride to work. Susan is a good listener. And funny.  A few times a year she would send along a stack of pages she cut out, not ripped like mine were, from The New Yorker or the New York Times, articles that amused her or that she thought would amuse me. Made my week when I found a fat legal size white envelope from her in my mailbox stuffed with cartoons from Roz Chast or an article about some poor man who managed to shoot himself with a bow and arrow through his nose and survived or an article about a new vegetarian restaurant we should try the next time I was in NYC. Now we exchange emails which is just not the same but still the best.

After all these years, we have our own language based pretty much on the punch lines from New Yorker cartoons. One of us will tell a story about some hideous wrong someone perpetrated against us and somewhere in that conversation the other will say, “Well, Binkie says throw the rubber boots out the window!,” and we laugh hysterically. After discussing a person who is  actually taking his vacation time much to the penetrating glare of his boss, one of us will proclaim, “Well, which goose won’t make partner?!”

Susan is kind. Susan is thoughtful. Susan is big time brilliant with a memory that won’t quit. She is the friend we all want and are so blessed to have.  I could go on and on, but I will end with our traditional birthday song, based on a birthday card sent maybe 25 years ago:

Hippo Birdie Two Ewes!

Hippo Birdie Two Ewes!

Hippo Birdie, Hippo Birdie!

Hippo Birdie Two Ewes!

And many more!

Happy Birthday, Susan. Love you.


  1. Greg says:

    I too am a friend of Susan’s and she is a gem!!! You cannot find a better friend than Susan.

Speak Your Mind