So, I was waiting and thinking about our friendship. We're a lot alike, and we know why. It's the Mellinger genes. We understand that tears will come easily for reasons that may not be apparent to others; we agree that we don't understand what went down between our moms decades ago, in effect permanently stifling their relationship, and we aren't going to perpetuate it. We have a huge backlog of information about each other that is just a given, which cuts out a lot of long explanations when we're sorting through current "stuff" together. We graduated from high school together. We both love music, but she's the musician, and we both love flowers, but I am the gardener. We're both married to men in positions of long term ministry in the evangelical world which has brought us all manner of joy and headache, (not necessarily in that order.) We both gave birth to two biological sons whom we homeschooled, and we are both currently in the throes of figuring out what it means to be The Mother-In-Law two times over. (We really want to "get it right," but so far we're sort of floundering along the best we can.)
And, we both have some issues with directions, probably me more than her. Probably. Although, as I sat and waited for her on Thursday night, I had to wonder. She was coming to my extremely rural home from a distant town, relying completely on the accuracy of her phone gps. I knew she utterly trusted it, because I've been with her before in similar situations, and as long as she knows where she is in terms of the little green dot, she's good. Similar situations, I say, but nothing as remote as where I live, which I wasn't sure she understood, living as she does on Long Island, New York. So, when I got a text message at 12:10am that read,
"I think I'm here but not sure where I am,"
I wasn't too surprised. And I did have to chuckle a little. I know that feeling regularly when I'm traveling too. Soon my phone rang, and we were trying to figure out where she was.
When the 9-1-1 emergency phone service became a reality here a few years ago, every farm lane in our valley was duly assigned a name and marked with appropriate signage. Apparently, this can be confusing to the powers that be who create "the shortest distance between two points"programs because Audrey had been directed to turn right into our Amish neighbor's front lane. His property has access along two roads, so Audrey's green dot bumped her along through the barnyard, and out onto the other road, neatly bypassing our house completely.
(I had wondered why the "NO THRU TRAFFIC" sign had been added to the neighbor's sign, and now I know. Apparently this is happening regularly, and those middle of the night headlights are a bit unsettling, out here where the house gets dark when the sun goes down.)
Of course, none of this was obvious in the deep (no electric night lights here!) darkness of midnight, but soon Audrey's headlights came around the corner to reveal one happy woman jumping and waving at the end of my Hickory Lane!
So, we spent most of the day together Friday, and what did we do?
We sat and talked over coffee at the kitchen table. For a long time.
We wandered around the property, and she was graciously delighted to see my garden, which is simultaneously my happy place and the biggest pile of work I've ever undertaken..especially this memorable back-surgery-for-the-hubby summer. She ooh-ed and ahh-ed and took pictures and blessed me with her enthusiasm.
We tried to get some pictures of the two of us together, but one of us usually had our eyes closed, hands waving or mouth open, talking; this one was the best, taken in sun and shadow by the water garden, the first picture we took!
In case you are wondering, this is not my only friend, and I'm not into the BFF terminology. Audrey is simply part of the fabric of my life, one of the gifts I've come to cherish more as the years pass. I am blessed with a plethora of friends -scattered here and there around the country and the globe, friends I've known since childhood, cousin friends, women I've known since college days, friends from early years of marriage living elsewhere, friends young enough to be my daughters, (like my much loved daughters-in-law), others old enough to be my mother, many friends I've met in my sojourn here in Big Valley, women I've come to love as sisters in the Sunday school class we call the Family...Circus. (Okay, Family Circle.) I count every one of them as a treasure of great value, including the newest friend I've been "growing" in my garden this summer as I share space and garden know-how and life stories while we weed and plant and weed and weed... What would life be without the good fortune of good friends? It's not Thursday, but ever day is a day to be grateful for a friend.
in an age of facebook friendships a globe wide and one inch deep,
in a world where anonymous social networks like Whisper and YakYak are on the rise,
in a world of tweets and likes,
what is so rare and wonderful as an ordinary day
laughing and talking and being together,
two old friends?