Posts Tagged ‘friends’

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Road Trip Stories in the South

April 8, 2019

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Last week, I had a most excellent adventure. First, I met my oldest and closest friends in New Orleans and then road-tripped with my 88-year-old mom through the South. Both pieces were extraordinary.

My friends never disappoint. Sure, we’ve grown older; our legs more tired and our wrinkles much deeper. We’ve raised kids and dogs and worked and suffered. We’ve become strong, independent women who know a thing or two, and yet, have plenty to learn. We’re a complicated crew. Because of my gals, I’ve learned that relationships take effort. I’ve also learned, the best ones are worth the investment.

As lives change, friendships shift; but once together, my friends and I remember. We remember big hair, Bon Jovi, shoulder pads, banana bike seats, pool parties, and Schaeffer Light. Now, we roll eyes, remembering the jocks and the burn-outs, the teachers and the coaches. We remember laughing. We remember predators. We remember love. Mostly, we remember our stories. Together; eating and drinking and dancing like fools, we make more moments to remember. Stories.

After my friends, dispersed, Mom arrived. Because her grandma was a suffragist and taught her to demand social justice, Mom taught me the same. We headed for Montgomery where much of our nation’s horrific history is recorded. We sat with ghosts. We studied at the Legacy Center, listening to stories of incarceration, injustice, lynching, and death. As white women raised in America, like it or not, we’ve benefited from slavery’s dark legacy and the Jim Crow laws that followed. After many museums, we sat with ourselves; sorry and ashamed. Mom and I had long talks about racism, social injustice, and the history that got us here. We committed ourselves to listen better. Act more. And to speak about what we learned; sharing both the stories that were told and the stories that disappeared.

By the end of my adventure, I realized, not for the first time, how quickly life moves; how tragic and joyful it can be. In the time we are given, relationships and stories transform life, making it either better or worse.

Stories.

For me, I hope to create a life where I live a good story, I write a good story, and I listen to all the stories I can.

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Quotes

September 19, 2012

 

I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.

–Joan Didion

 

Our consciousness is fed with other consciousness.  The way we make decisions, our likes and our dislikes, depend on the collective way of seeing things. That’s why selecting the people you are around is very important.

-Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Have you ever observed that we pay much more attention to a wise passage when it is quoted, than when we read it in the original author?

-Philip G. Hamerton

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Why Keep Old Friends?

October 6, 2009

It’s no good trying to keep up old friendships. It’s painful for both sides. The fact is, one grows out of people, and the only thing is to face it.

–W. Somerset Maugham

When I first found this quote I almost spilled my coffee. What was Maugham thinking? Just because he had a horrible past with friends who stuck his hands in warm water to make him pee, doesn’t give him the right to tell us to ditch our friends of yesteryear.

Because my twenty-fifth high school reunion was held two weeks ago, I’ve been given particular pause to ponder. Reunions can be odd. Thrown face to face with the bitches and belles, the bullies and bad guys can make people a little crazy. Before gathering to reminisce, folks shop for the perfect outfit while others stock up on Tums. If men still have hair, they dye it peculiar shades of blond. Lots of people drink, and others stalk old girlfriends. So why do it to ourselves? Why bother?

Weeks before our latest reunion a friend refused to attend, or ever attend any future reunion. Too overwhelming. News of her dissent circulated at our reunion and created a small uproar. “Who does she think she is to never talk to us again? What was so horrible? People change! There are no cliques anymore. We’re too old for that.” While these sentiments may or may not be true, I was surprised at the wave of displeasure her words generated. Why indeed, keep contact with old friends? Like Maugham said, new friends can replace the old.

Although I could not afford to fly to Ohio for this recent reunion, I have kept contact with former friends. Lots of them. I argue with a few, laugh with a few, and even cry with the best of them. They take me to my roots and remind me of both the person I was and of the person I have become. “Old” friends show me the path I’ve chosen and help explain the journey I’ve taken.

While I may laugh at the guy with hair plugs or roll my eyes at the beauty queen who continues to work the room, I relish in the company of old. No one knows you quite like an old friend. They keep us.