Friends: An Unexpected Gift

Friendship among women of a certain age is silver and gold.

At my age I’ve filtered the pulp from the juice.  The friends that bless me now are from the heart of the fruit and do not require any fillers or sweeteners to make them better.

 I realized that today after a lengthy telephone conversation with a long time friend. When I mentioned that my baby girl is 34, she screamed, “No way! She can’t be that old. Oh wait a minute, I guess she might be, because if we’ve been friends since our thirties, which would mean…..”  We laughed.  She didn’t have to finish her thoughts.

Another friend announced two weeks ago, “I just finished my Christmas Tree.  And it’s all red!”  Meanwhile, I’m thinking orange pumpkins and black kitties, and I wondered how she’ll keep the dust at bay until Christmas happens nearly 100 days down the road, but I replied, “How cool!  Can’t wait to see it.”  

Last week while she and I searched for serious fashion markdowns she said incredulously, “Do you know what my neighbor said about my Christmas Tree?  She asked me if I was going to leave the lights on!”

Me, concerned that I did not drop down to a lesser sized pant as planned, shouted from the dressing room, “Well are you?”

“Of course I am.  It’s a Christmas Tree!”

Yesterday another friend dropped in with two bottles of pure Mexican vanilla—souvenirs from her recent Mexican excursion.  Horrified with the local price of pure vanilla, and overjoyed with the real stuff as a gift I squeezed her silly. 

“Hey, I saw these and I thought of you!” she said.  Now that’s as good as pure vanilla.

I could write a small book about my friends—the writers, the travelers, the caretakers, the business owners, the carpenters, the artists, and the seekers of spirit, but that’s not the point here. 

The point came to me while cruising alongside the Colorado River through the Sonoran Desert with my “cuz” friend.  I was 17 when we met.

“Bob and I spent a lot of time out here boating with our friends,” she recalled a youthful era with her former husband.

“Are you still in contact with those friends,” I queried.  I asked because her boating and water skiing days matched the time frame when I was married to my late husband.   And now I desperately tried to remember those “best friends’” names and faces.  Seems like we did everything with them, hike, camp, picnic, motorcycle, and party down.  But could I remember their names? No. 

Cuz answered, “Not really,” to that friend question.

Then I dug deeper into my pulpy memory and recalled a tall and freckled friend from my secretary days.  I remembered her and me going out for drinks, going to the movies, and long hours chatting from my desk to hers.  What was her name?  Then there were other work friends, club friends, and school friends who remained on my Christmas card mailing list for years but have been absent from that list since ???? 

Each of my core friends also has core friends who share silver and gold threads.  My observation is that these are the ones who know us for who we are, for who we’ve been, and for who we shall still become.  And that is an unexpected gift of maturity.


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