The Best of Friends
I always look forward to giving the talk, The Best of Friends. I develop it by addressing the importance of women’s friendships, and how those relationships can fill our emotional gaps and help to sooth the turmoil of stress.
Do you know that the more friends’ women have, the less likely we are to develop physical impairments as we age, and the more likely we are to be leading a joyful life? In fact it has been found that not having close friends or confidants can be a significant health hazard, up there with smoking.
Using examples in my life, I share how the ultimate personal relationship with Jesus has brought me through the life altering changes that affect many of us. He is the Best of Friends!
My Five Sisters and Me
Every couple of years my five sisters and I chisel out time from our busy lives to be together. It is a weekend to reminisce and browse through memories that have glued us together. We call it our Sister’s Retreat.
It is noon; we are still in our robes lingering on our sister’s patio that sits on the golf course fairway, sipping our coffee and feasting on another fresh batch of gooey cinnamon rolls.
Someone remarks, “I remember when we envied the kids who brought sliced bread in their school lunches. All we ever had was homemade!” We all laugh. “Oh for those days when the kitchen table was piled with fresh bread and rolls.”
It is in these pensive moments that we talk about memories of our dad. He struggled a lot, and perhaps failed us in some ways. But we realize we may have failed him also. He died at sixty; all but one of his ten children were by his side.
Warm memories of our mother unfold as we talk of her remarkable life and her capacity to love. Ten children, twenty-eight grandchildren and fifty-three great grandchildren; each of us is flawed, our lives reflective of mistakes and wrong choices. Yet she has always chosen to love us. Ninety years on her looks like sixty.
We grew up on a five-acre farm on the outskirts of a small rural Colorado community. The usual farm animals filled the pens and sheds which were kept at a safe distance from the house, avoiding the otherwise unpleasant odors.
We tell stories of the treks through the freezing Colorado winter nights to the outdoor bathroom. We always went in twos because one or the other was afraid to go alone. The one who stood guard outside the wooden latched door and complained about how long it was taking and how she was freezing to death!
In the summer, hollyhocks, peonies and lilacs graced the front lawn, giving the otherwise dismal white stucco dwelling a certain charm. In the winter, the glistening white snow sought to camouflage its appearance.
Blue flowered linoleum covered the floors of every room in our modest 1000 square foot home; three bedrooms, a living room and kitchen. A wood burning stove occupying the center of the kitchen served for both cooking and keeping warm on the cold Colorado winter mornings.
We girls crammed into a bedroom meant for two. Activity swirled around a lone oak wood dressing table with a large mirror perched in its middle. The four deep drawers, two on each side, along with the narrow middle one could not contain the paraphernalia necessary for teenage girls. A well-worn phonograph player was stationed on a small two-tiered metal stand. Stacks of 45 rpm records spilled over from the bottom shelf onto the linoleum floor.
Two wood paned windows furnished the sunshine. Soft white sheer curtains that our mother had made framed each one. In the spring and summer we would raise the windows and welcome the delicious fragrance of the lilac bushes, the red tea roses and a white spirea shrub.
Some of the sweetest of times we savor are the summer star studded evenings of Annie, Annie, I Over, Simon Says, Hide and Seek, and Kick the Can.
These weekends don’t offer enough minutes to cover memories stored in our minds: Hay-rack rides, Noxzema, Prell shampoo, poodle skirts, bobby socks, can-can slips, Elvis.
The day is ending as the September desert sun is slipping away. We sip on margaritas watching from the patio as the last of the golfers tee off on their way back to the club house. We are content knowing that these precious times that we are sharing now will be as cherished as those memories of the times that once used to be, for my five sisters and me.