The Friend Who Would Not Go Away – Tranquil Thursday #5

A black and white photo of a solitary boat on a lake

I cannot claim to have a passel of friends. To me, friendship is not meant to be counted but rather treasured. I am the youngest of four children. I spent much of my childhood entertaining myself. Is that what made me an introvert or was that trait embedded in my DNA? Perhaps I fell to introversion because of environmental influences.

Our family moved frequently but until recently, I never acknowledged how that uprooting affected me. I never struggled to make friends, but I did struggle to keep them. Early on I tried to stay in touch as we moved, but eventually time and distance would gnaw away at the ties that may have otherwise bound us together. Honestly, I did not put up much of a fight. This was just how it was.

When I left Alaska for the last time, my life was in turmoil. Three cross-country moves in about five years and I was tired of starting over. I kept in touch with friends for a while, but time and circumstance took a toll and friendships waned. All but one.

No matter how much time passed, she never let me go. That silky thread of friendship held tight. She believed in the value of the love we shared. Even now, months can pass without a word. Then my phone will light up unexpectedly and it will be her.

No matter how much my body leaned into the familiarity of letting go, she would not let that happen. It took time for me to understand why she hung on. She treasured the ‘us’ in our friendship. It was a place of peace. A place of acceptance and sincerity. A place of familiarity and a sense of what has been.

Our friendship has endured 43 years. That is a record for me, my friends. She recently called me because she needed her friend. She needed a tranquil place where she could cry the tears she wanted no one else to witness. Then we laughed and talked about grandchildren (we barely had children all those years ago.)

I have no questions this week. I simply wonder if you have experienced the calm serenity that comes from staying the course.

As always your comments and posts are wecome.

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The Things We Keep

You know my propensity to dodge in and out of rabbit holes. I think I was born that way. It does not take much for me to veer off course from my planned activities for the day. Today was no different.

As I sipped my coffee, I glanced up and saw the small oriental plates in my china cabinet. They are always there but I do not ‘see’ them every day.

The plates were a gift from MK, a woman I met in Alaska. I cannot recall now the occasion for which she gifted me the plates.

MK was a large gregarious woman with flaming red hair. Her voice was gravelly from years of smoking – her laugh contagious. She and her husband married late in life, a first marriage for both of them.

One day I found out she was in the hospital. We talked on the phone. She was scared as they were prepping her for emergency surgery. The doctors were positive she had terminal colon cancer.  She phoned her sister and asked her to come and be with her, but she said she could not come. She was enrolled in adult college classes and she did not want to miss her finals. It broke her heart.

I was there when she came out of surgery. I stayed with her until the anesthesia wore off. I never saw her reclusive husband or any other family. I combed her matted hair, coaxing the knots out with care. She thanked me and wept.

When the doctors came in, they told her there had been no cancer at all. This seems unfathomable now, but this was in the mid 70s – diagnostics are much improved now. She was relieved of course, but weeks of trauma from worrying had taken a toll on her.

We lost touch over the years. I have researched and know her husband died 13 years after they married. She lived another 15 years after. I wish we had not lost touch.

I keep the plates. I am not sure anyone in my family know their relevance. Some may wonder why I keep them. They have no intrinsic monetary value.

To me they tell a story of a wonderful lady who I had the pleasure of knowing for a brief time in my life. She was kind. She was funny. She was my friend. I treasure my memories.


Friendship – #JusJoJan 2023

Welcome to day eight of Just Jot It January for 2023. Today’s word is friendship.

Friendship. How to tackle this one?

I have quite a few acquaintances, a number of friendly relationships, a few good friends, and a handful of really close and dear friends. It is interesting to think about what makes up a friendship and what friendship makes it to the status of close friend.

I am reminded of the poem by Welsh composer Joseph Parry:

Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold.
New-made friendships, like new wine,
Age will mellow and refine.
Friendships that have stood the test—
Time and change—are surely best;
Brow may wrinkle, hair grow gray,
Friendship never knows decay.
For ‘mid old friends, tried and true,
Once more we our youth renew.
But old friends, alas! may die,
New friends must their place supply.
Cherish friendship in your breast—
New is good, but old is best;
Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold.

I am not sure I agree totally that old friends are best, but I do get the gist of what he is saying. I agree with the first two lines, both of which are so valuable in my book.

Our family moved around a lot when I was a child. It was difficult in the times before phones and cellphones and internet to maintain long term relationships. I am still in touch with some of those old friends, but we are not close.

I have learned over the years that friendships can be fragile. It can be a difficult lesson, but one I have come to accept. I do not believe you must struggle to keep a good friendship intact.

Years ago, I bought a book by Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy, better known as SARK. She had a free online forum for her readers and I developed some of the closest friendships of my life through those old bulletin board forums. I had the pleasure of meeting many of them from all over the US and as far away as Australia, England, Scotland, and Germany. I have mourned the death of many of those friends – some of which I never met in person. It did not make the grief any less. We shared years of our life, each one of us in the confines of our own homes. I am still friends with many of them.

Living in this more remote landscape has been more challenging to develop friendships.I have made a few. Being an introvert does not make it any easier. Covid has not helped either. This community has been such a gift over these last few years of stress and lockdowns. I treasure you all.

I miss my sisters so much. We were very good friends apart from being siblings. I feel much the same about my children. They will always be my children, but they are also some of my dearest friends.

I cannot leave out animals when I think of friends. My cat Midnight, the first animal I loved from the deepest caverns of my heart to Smoky, my gray pound cat who saw me through some of the darkest moments of my life. Animals can be the best and dearest friends.

I am not a ‘friend collector’. I do not gather the names of everyone I have ever met and call them my friends. Maybe others can develop all those relationship into friendships, but that is definitely not one of my superpowers. To me, those people are acquaintances or friendly relationships.

The friends I hold closest to  my heart have earned my trust. They know me and my history as I know theirs. We share a trust and a bond that only comes from being honest and vulnerable with my heart. This is the diamond among the dust.

Written as part of Linda Hill’s JusJoJan.

Prompt word today (friendship) submitted by JezzieG from JezzieG.


An Unexpected Friendship – #WATWB

Image that says we are the world

Welcome back to the monthly bloghop – We Are The World Blogfest. It is a time to share snippets of good news happening around the world in an effort to diminish the impact of negative news.

WATWB is co-hosted this month by Sylvia McGrath and Belinda Witzenhausen

Building bridges and establishing relationships has been difficult this last year as we all experienced isolation due to the pandemic. It has been particularly hard on young children and the elderly, both of which can be very vulnerable members of our society.

Two-year old Benjamin Olsen found a new best friend in his slightly older next door neighbor, Mary O’Neill. Mary will be 100 in December. It is that age difference that makes this friendship so unexpected and so endearing.

You can read more of this delightful story here. We could all use a new friend, I think.

Want to read more good news or join in the effort to contribute to the spreading of good news throughout the world? Use the hashtag #WATWB on your good news post and share it in our Facebook community here or on Twitter at @WATWB so others can read your post.



Day 196

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

This is such a busy and chaotic world sometimes. We are like a mythological beast with hundreds of tentacles needing to be fed. Each one requires something different of us. In each of us, however, there comes a time when we no longer have the energy to feed the beast and all we need is a minute to breathe — a minute to be heard.

Friendship is the balm we need to ease the distractions of life. A shoulder to lean on or someone to laugh with. We get so busy it is easy to take those relationships for granted.

So many of my friends throughout my life were ‘work friends’ which means that often when the work ends, so does the friendship. The same story goes for friends who are dependent on a circumstance or a place to fuel those flames and keep the friendship alive. Relocation can kill friendships because it isn’t easy any longer.

I have many friends that have withstood the test of time and distance and change. Others did not fare so well. I have come to chalk it up to people evolving at different speeds with different needs. No harm, no foul.

It is important to find your tribe. Those people who are there for you. The ones who call to check up on you. The ones who just seem to be there when you need them.

Old friends are important — they are your past and every phase of you. But as I age, I have come to realize that new friends can be just as important. They are the promise of tomorrow and the supporter of your dreams.

What is most important, regardless of whether the friendship is old or new, is to be there. Reciprocate, love, and support one another. One-sided friendships will not stand the test of time.

I am thankful today for friendships old and new. And I will always strive to be a better friend than I have ever been.