Margot Datz

 Friends, they are kind to each others hopes, they cherish each others dreams.

I want to tell you a story about my artist girlfriend Margot Datz (that’s her cute self), but first, so that this story makes sense, I have to tell you about a strange thing between Joe and me.  Not scary strange, just normal strange.  I’m telling you, but don’t tell anyone, OK?  I wouldn’t want people to get the right idea about us. ♥

It’s just that we have certain words; and when we say them, we look intently into each other’s eyes in total concentration.  They are not words of love, they actually make no sense at all and have nothing to do with anything.  They just attract us somehow; there’s something about how these words feel coming out our lips or from the back of our throats; we like the sound of them.  One of them is “pork.” See? I told you, nothing to do with anything. But we say it with a Boston accent, poahk.  We say it, both at the same time, like a round of Row-Row-Row Your Boat, hearing the p; then the oa, then the k; ’til we’re sick of it, which luckily, doesn’t take long.  We do it because that word, the way we say it, sounds funny and makes us laugh.

 Family humor always sounds strange to the outside world, but it’s a kind of love-glue to the family who thinks it’s funny.   A little club.

The other thing we like to say is “Kicking Bird,” which comes from the movie Dances with Wolves.  Kicking Bird was the medicine man who was step-father to Stands with a Fist, the character played by Mary McDonnell, who was raised by the Sioux, remember?

The way she said “Kicking Bird,” sort of stuttering when trying to remember a language she hadn’t used for a long time, just stuck in our brain (we only have one brain between us, as this little story is proving).  We came out of the movie theater, repeating “kicking bird” all the way home. We tried to say it the way she did, so the “k’s”s kind of stick in the throat; we pronounce “bird” with our tongues up to the roof of our mouths, so it comes out as “buurd.”  So it’s kick, kickkk, kicking burrrd.  Try it.  See what I mean?

These words come up in our conversation every so often, particularly when we’re out on our walk; and when I say, “What do you want for dinner?” Joe will answer, “Poahk,” and off we go to the land of poahk; from there, it’s an easy slide into Kicking Buurd.

One afternoon, over tea at our kitchen table, I mentioned this story to my girlfriend Margot, and pretty soon she was into it.  “Poahk,” she said, over and over, and “Kick. king. buurrd.  k-k-kicking burrrd.”  She got it, we laughed.  And that was pretty much it; as you can imagine, it wasn’t mentioned again, not being a subject that comes up a lot.

Many months after telling Margot about this, she and I had a plan to go together to an Island-Artist’s meeting, downtown at Five Corners, where the old Ocean Club restaurant

Margot at work

used to be; an open room, with high ceilings, a row of tall, many-paned windows on two long walls, like on an old sun porch.

The wooden floor was set up with rows of folding chairs in a half circle, facing the windows, with a small table in the middle for the speaker; she’s speaking when we arrive, without a microphone; each chair has an island artist in it; everyone is quiet and listening intently.

I know some of these people, but not all; a serious meeting about artists’ interests is taking place; we are late, of course.  We tiptoe to two chairs in the back, as unobtrusively as possible, conscious of every chair scrape and creaking-metal seat noise we make.

Settling in, getting quiet, looking around the circle, I see lots of people I know, and some I think I recognize, but can’t remember from where — in particular, across the room, there’s a woman who is so familiar to me, I feel like I know her, but I can’t figure out who she is.  It’s driving me crazy, I can’t remember.

  I lean in, and working my way through Margot’s hair, I put my mouth up directly to her ear, and whisper very quietly so as not to disturb anyone, “See the girl over there?”  I nod in the direction of this person.  “Who is she?”

Margot glances across the room, then gets back around to my ear and whispers, “Which one?”

“The one next to Jenna, with the long feather thing in her hair.”

Margot’s eyes cut across the room in the stranger’s direction, she ponders for a moment, and leans back toward me, nodding.  She knows!

I’m relieved, thank goodness for Margot; I won’t have to think about this anymore, she’s my hero!

Her lips come to my ear; she whispers, barely audible, “Her name is  . . . (wait for it) . . . K-kick-ing Burrrd.”

Well, that does it for me.  I burst out laughing, she does too, and we can’t stop, we are crying with laughter.  I try to gain control, but instead, I’m shaking in my chair, making snorting noises, which sends Margot off; we can’t even look at each other; we realize quickly that we have to leave.

Yes, we had definitely delighted them long enough; we had no choice but to miss this meeting, but I’m pretty sure that the meeting did not miss us!

This is Margot last week, when I dropped in to see her at work on her newest project,  a mural she’s doing at the Steamship Authority in Oak Bluffs.  She is an artist and author beloved by her community, beloved by her friends, and beloved by her many readers.  You may recognize her from her wonderful book, A Survival Guide for Landlocked Mermaids. (I don’t know how many of these we have left, but if you are going to want one, just let me know and we’ll order more!)

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I was very sad and lonely, and Margot came in, almost on a white horse, and rescued me.  I will never forget it.

I am a very lucky person. I am blessed with amazingly talented, smart, generous, creative, and loving girlfriends, sisters of the heart, kindred spirits, who I love very much.

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256 Responses to Margot Datz

  1. Barbara (WA) says:

    I am happily exhausted from laughter from reading all the comments in addition to your post!!

    • MargotFriend says:

      I have been a very lucky person to have known this special person since her days in a dorm room in SUNY. It has amazed me how after all that we have gone thru she remains constant in her love of life and unending dedication to her craft. I have dabbled and dreamed of my artistic bent since a young child with my first oil paints. I keep thinking about Margot when I contemplate and begin any artistic endeavor. I will always have strong feelings for her as she rekindles my creative spark whenever I think of her. We are all very fortunate to have had moments of time with her.

  2. Linda says:

    What an incredible friend and woman is Margot! I also have a friend who is an artist–her name is Shelley Prescott and she has a business called “A Passion to Paint”. She is a wonderful calligrapher as well as muralist which is her specialty. She was asked to paint the walls of the children’s wing of her local private hospital and they wanted a mermaid, sea life theme as well!! She doesn’t “do the computer so I can’t send this to her but did send this to her husband so he could show her your friend Margot and what they have in common on opposing sides of the continent!! Thanks for the wonderful blog!!

  3. Joanne Wood says:

    I so enjoy all your notes and pictures. I live in West Africa (Angola) on a job posting. I have all your books with me! I have shared with many Friends I have met along my travels!

    You bring a little of home to me!


  4. Jandina Konop says:

    I am going to pee my pants from reading that! I’m standing here at work with my legs crossed. Ya gotta love a girlfriend!

  5. Ellette says:

    The strangest thing I had at thanksgiving was also a jello salad. This one was lime jello with cottage cheese, whipping cream and pineapple bits. Very interesting!

  6. Lisa Hay says:

    I have her mermaid book and I love it! That is me, a mermaid, and I love her art in the book! I wish she had some bigger prints of the art that is in the book to purchase. You turned me on to her and I thank you!

  7. Mollie says:

    Loved reading this post, Susan! What a treat your words are . . . always. Loved listening to Lita Rose with Andy Williams and the Osmonds . . . what fun.

  8. Jenni G. says:

    I can’t believe someone else and her husband get silly repeating “kicking bird” a la Dances With Wolves!!! That is too funny. We’ve done that for years. Thank you for sharing your funny moments with us. 🙂

  9. Colette Lee says:

    I have so enjoyed your wonderful story of your friendship! I just laughed so hard picturing you two at this meeting!! I love Margot’s artwork, didn’t I see her artwork in a children’s story from Carly Simon? It was her artwork that attracted me to the story and I loved reading it to my children! I’ve since packed it away to save for the future, need to track it down…. Thanks for the giggles this morning!

  10. Janet Tentler says:

    Good Morning! Thanks again for your wonderful blogs and Tweets from the Twain! You are our ray of sunshine! I need to preface my Dances with Wolves story with another thing my girlfriends and I do. My niece when she was young she would sit in front of the TV watching some Disney animation with princesses and she would say to herself, or anyone in the room listening, “I’m Her”! Wishing and thinking she was the Disney Princess! Welllll – cut to 2009, my girlfriends and I now, when we read your Willard or your Blog or visit you at a quilt show or book signing we say outloud to one another “I’m Her”!! After a Willard comes out – we can just email each other – in the subject line – “I’m Her”and we all know what that means! We heart you! Now, for my Dances with Wolves story – we do the exact same thing BUT with DUNBAR! Any pause when speaking with a word starting with “D” we say together “D-D-Dun-Dunbaaar-Dunbar”! Enjoy your day!

  11. Debbie - Strafford, MO says:

    Willard has arrived! What a wonderful treat at the end of a long work day.
    Love your blog! My husband and I also do the “Kickkking burrrd” thing. Small world! We also ran across this bumper sticker at the Kittery Trading Post and can’t get it out of our head: “Bumpa Stika fa tha Kar”! LOL!
    My family and my husband’s family will be here for Thanksgiving…can’t wait!
    Holiday hugs!!

  12. Jamie V. says:

    How fortunate you are to have such a friend in Margot. I love what you said that you were once sad and lonely and Margot then appeared into your life. I believe with all my heart that God hears our cry and sends angels to the rescue, How lucky,lucky we are when that happens. 🙂

  13. Paulie says:

    What an incredible friend, artist and lady ….. I really enjoyed reading this because when I was taking art classes at the university, we did, as a class project a huge project like this for our local YWCA……….It was quite a learning experience on perspective in that huge a project so I know just what monumental tasks she is accomplishing! Just incredible, purely incredible…….

  14. Smiling, laughing, and watching my mood change as I read this post. Just marvelous.

  15. Sandi Zier says:

    you make me smile, your blogs are awesome, you hang with great people.

  16. Tara - Harmony, FL says:

    What a wonderful blog post to brighten my morning! I love your kitten pictures and the video of Jack chasing his ball. Cats make a home warm and cuddly!

  17. Lucy de Leeuw ( Miss Lucie) says:

    Wishing you a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Thank you for sharing and inspiring on daily basis. I look forward to opening the Blog everyday!

  18. Suzie Hecht says:

    Making your red pear, pomagranate salad with spiced pecans for turkey day. Took it to my church for a pot luck, and it was gone in minutes! I just tell them about my friend Susan Branch! Happy Turkey Day!

  19. Joan Lesmeister says:

    I loved this the first time I read it & now, giant ♥ this time! Crack me up!!! “Working your way through” Mahvalus Margot’s hair, and the rest of the story, great writing, I am there with you!!!!! Have you ever been invited back??
    Sometimes, when those funny moments hit, the tears come tumbling down & there’s no stopping the hysterics until you’re exhausted!!! Thanks for a great start to my day my dear! Happy weekend & fun with your friend Elizabeth! Hugs, Joanie

    • sbranch says:

      I’m not sure why, but we never did try and go again. We made such a big mess of it the first time; I don’t think we were in the room for more than ten minutes!!! Very childish and embarrassing, but once the hysterical laughter starts, the party is over! Thanks Joanie, happy weekend to you too!

  20. Lisa Tucker (My Ordinary Country Life) says:

    My husband and I have a word from the movie “I’m gonna get you sucka”….really really funny movie…and whenever we have to buy something and it costs $2.50 we can’t help but look at each other and say “TWO FITTE?!!”…anyway that’s our thing…:))…gotta keep reading….Jack is getting smaller…:)

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