What is a friend? Is it someone you “hang” with? Is it someone you have a lot in common with, share a hobby or live next door to? I want to tell you about a friend I have. A friend I have had for more than 30 years. I friend I hadn’t seen face to face in a few years and if it wasn’t for facebook, we would have fallen out of touch completely. Do you ever have a dream where people from your past and your present are all jumbled together? She has been in a bunch of jumbled dreams lately and it got me thinking about her and our story.
K and I went to the same church and private school together–believe me that ain’t nearly as top shelf as it sounds. My earliest real memory of her was at recess. We had no playground equipment so walking the black top in a square was what we did (kind of like exercise in a prison yard). Groups of 2 or 3 girls, those not into jumping rope would walk around and around until the bell rang and one day K asked me to walk….WHAT? Me? Awkwardly awkward -a freakishly tall preteen–walk with her?
K was a few years older, a teenager and the prettiest and most popular fish in our small fundamental pond. We walked and talked and laughed. She said see ya later when the bell rang and I felt like I had a brush with fame. As time went on and years went by it only got better. She was always happy to see me, include me, talk or listen to me. She gave me advice about, ahem…leg shaving and yanno, the monthly. She would gladly skootch over on the bleachers when she was surrounded by the cute boys and cool girls to make room for me. She always laughed at my jokes, not me and always left me feeling happy and positive. I cried at her graduation–I was sure I would never meet someone as swell as her again.
She went off to college, I sent her a few cards and letters. She came home on winter break and she asked me if I wanted to go have lunch….What? ME? She picked me up in her folks ultra-cool Toyota Mini Van and we went to have fancy taco salads at the Bradley Square. She told me about college, boy friends, Liz Claiborne and the color, Taupe. I could not believe she was making time for me.
Kim got married to someone I didn’t know– Tall, quiet and handsome. I went to their wedding and prayed he knew just how great Kim was.
We moved away and got a call one day. Kim and her hubs wanted to stop by our house in Iowa and spend the night for something or other…I felt like the Queen was coming for a visit! I cleaned my room and gave it to them. We had supper and after her hubs went to bed we sat awhile and talked and listened. Married Kim seemed so grown up–so successful. I felt so special being her friend.
Fast forward 10 years or so. I only went “home” to the old K3 to see my ailing family. I had been fortunate enough to have lost anyone really close to me until my 30’s but then all of a sudden I lost a lot. I made trips to Kankakee, Illinois for goodbye’s and funerals.
This is where we picked up were we left off. In the midst of her own family and life she would read the Obit in the paper and show up. I saw her four times in funeral homes and once, when one of my babies had had enough, I left early and she followed me to Monical’s Pizza just to catch up with me….How amazing is that?
Around 2009 we connect on fb. I see her beautiful children and her smile once again. I am a late bloomer (duh–did you see me in HS?) and I am struggling with these little boys and she is sooo…so K. Helpful, encouraging and supportive. I love being able to share my life.
When I was getting ready for the Gala I asked her for a bit of fashion advice and she helped this tired, old country kleenex feel like a princess. Still always amazing, encouraging.
Today is a special day. It is her Birthday. I have been so blessed to have crossed paths with amazing people in my life. She is one of my fave’s. Thank you Kim. Thanks for your kindness, encouragement, smile and grace. I am a better person because I know you!
Sincerely, Sara..aka Kim’s Friend–one lucky girl, now taulk amongst yourselves…
P.S. If you know K–Wish her a Happy Day, if you don’t…do it too, you will be glad you did!