Judy and I have been friends for more than sixty years. And this picture explains why.
This is Judy’s mom (with her sweet smile) hugging my mom at a 40th wedding anniversary celebration. We surprised my parents that evening. All the family, friends, and neighbors came out to exchange moments like this. Judy texted me this photo recently and said, “This is why we are friends.”
It is so true. Our mothers were neighbors who became friends. Do you know why? Because they worked at it. Frances probably had plenty of other things to do that evening. July 5th is heavy garden season for farm wives. Plus they had cows to milk, I expect. Certainly, Frances had already put in a full day of work before she dressed up to go to a party. It would have been easy to decline. But, friends show up for moments like this.
Our mothers went beyond being friends, though. They taught us to be friends by their example and their instruction. Long before we learned to read together in the first grade, Judy and I enjoyed what people call “play dates” these days. That meant my mom would bundle me up and send me along on my dad’s mail route in the early morning hours. He would drop me at the Bane farmhouse, and Judy and I would spend several hours together before he looped back to pick me up again.
Judy’s parents would go out of their way to drop her at my house sometimes, too. Plus, they encouraged us to call one another on the party-line telephones back in the day before any-kind-of-chat existed.
That continued all our lives. Until our friendship branched out to welcome husbands and babies. We never lost one another, though. We are still friends today, even as we fill our lives with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
It has been nearly fifty years since we lived in the same neighborhood. Our conversations are mostly digital these days. But if we happened to run into one another on the street, we would embrace just like the picture above. We’d smile like that. Share a few happy tears. And then we’d pick up our conversation as if we’d just paused in mid-sentence a moment before.
How to be a good friend is just one of the lessons our mothers taught us. But, it’s one of my favorites.
Happy Mother’s Day
P.S. – If you still need a Mother’s Day gift, both Judy and I grew up to become authors. You can find our stories on Amazon.com and get them sent to your mom right away. (Yes, this is one of our dreams come true.)