Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A few golden threads.....

Friendship is a funny thing. Take it from a former military brat who tried desperately to keep in touch with people as we moved from base to base, duty station to duty station, town to town. The primary lesson I took away from all of that angst was expressed in the old axiom of "Out of sight, out of mind."

The longest I had ever lived anywhere was during my tenure at Florida State University, back in the dark ages. That was when I couldn't leave the dorm without a skirt on. Yes, for real. We even poured tea from a silver tea service on Fridays in the dorm parlor, the dorm mother (I think that's what she was called, it's hard to remember past all the intervening years) overseeing our education as young women of that time.

I lived in Reynolds Hall, a dorm that sat perched on a hill. It had a peculiar bottom floor, with only about 10 rooms stretching down a short hallway with a communal bathroom at the end. Yes, we all showered together back in the age of dinosaurs. Twenty teenaged girls (no such thing as coed dorms back then, either, and I must say, thank goodness) showed up our freshman year with our steamer trunks and other assorted valuables from home, and met our roommates for the first time.

To say we had fun would be a gross understatement. Even for a bunch of girls who were definitely not wild women, we managed to have a great time. Many of us stuck together throughout the four years of our experience in a collegial setting, even when we moved off campus our senior year. Those years meant a lot to me, the military kid who had never had a friend longer than about a year.

My college roommate and I got together this past weekend, our men in tow. It's strange....and wonderful...how the decades slip away when the ties are long. We lost touch over the years, then reconnected, and now have plans to bring some others from those college days back into the fold. 

A few weeks ago I traveled to visit another one of those folks who hold a connection with me, someone of newer vintage in the scheme of friendships, but that tie between us is just as valuable. And just as strong. We ate, we laughed, we caught up on our lives in the precious hours we spent together. The distance in both miles and years fell away as the sun moved across the Florida sky. As I got ready to leave in the heat of the late afternoon, we vowed not to let the distance devour any more time in the future. 

Maybe some of those lost connections from my childhood would have lasted. I don't know. I wish there had been more of them, but in the end, we need only a few golden threads running throughout our lives that we can cherish forever.

Friendship... is not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything. Muhammad Ali

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