I remember visiting my grandparent’s home in Oakland in the late 50’s. On the wall of their kitchen nook was a framed cross-stitched message in blue which read, ” To Have a Friend, Be One.”
What an order! As the years passed, I glanced at that little frame, usually in a hurry.
This week friends named Sharon, Doug, Mary, Donna, Pam, and Linda have been on my mind. Zuby, Gary, Sara, and Ben. Christy, Joyce, and Anna. Richard, Don, Bill, and Susie. Kayti, Jennifer, and Vicki.
The souls I am privileged to call friends are loyal, diverse, intellectually curious, and most importantly (for me), authentic. Some of my friends I don’t see often. They have been patient with me throughout the years and were you to call for their evaluation of my attention to the edict in the cross-stitch, they would say that I have always been too busy. Too busy correcting papers. Too busy running a busy business. To see me, one of my friends, Ines, would come by the office just to say hi. I always felt guilty when she left. I suppose I have been too busy and I regret the busyness.
Some of my friends are men. I like men because often, they are more real with me. Those of you who have followed my blog for years will remember the posts I wrote about my friend Joe, who died several years ago at the age of 79. Talk about real.
One of my dearest friends is my sister who has put up with my high-spirited nature and downright abuse since she was a little girl, six years younger than I. Cindy is my confidant. We Block girls are known for looking out for our husbands and our children. We still cook healthy meals every night. We love the details of a story. We are former party animals, now tame. (Well, if truth be told, Cindy was the party animal.) Cindy and I have a give and take friendship. I ask about her. She asks about me. That seems to be important to me in a lasting and intimate friendship.
Some of my most cherished friends are old in years but young in spirit. I like spirit in a friend. I consider Kayti one of my dearest friends, one of the oldest souls I have ever flown around a room with. If you follow Kayti’s blog, you will see why. I am proud to have one of Kayti’s sculptures in my home and one of her gorgeous watercolors of New Mexico in my dining room.
This week, I have been in deep contemplation, and as usually happens in times like these, my friends enter my consciousness like ethereal butterflies, fluttering through my thoughts, brushing my cheeks with soft kisses, leaving glitter where they go.
Were my grandmother (whose ring I wear) still alive and were she to ask me whether I have dutifully followed the imperative on the cross-stitch, I would have to say “No, Nana. I have not.” I have simply been too busy.
She would probably have patted me on the crown of my head and said, “There’s always tomorrow, dear.”
That there is.