Your friends will know you better in the first minute you meet them than your acquaintances will know you in one thousand years. - Richard Bach
When we are young, we sometimes overlook the truly significant things that happen to us. We live our lives taking for granted what we consider the usual, and continually look towards newness and excitement. We forget and we move on. As we grow, sometimes if we are silent and pensive for a time, those usual things become our basic substance; in recognizing them, we can be appreciative, and if that happens, how lucky are we . . .
Many years ago, when I was a young girl, I was passing the warm, pre-autumn afternoon on my front lawn fighting with the inner workings of my prized two-wheeler trying to fix my bike for the hundredth time. As my lack of success became quickly apparent and my twelve-year-old patience waned, I threw the bike down in disgust---my way of dealing with pretty much anything at that point in my young life.
As I was considering how to solve this world-shattering, pre-pubescence problem, I heard a voice say “Susan. Is that you?” I looked up and there in front of my house, stood Joyce, a new student in my sixth-grade class. Because she lived on the other side of the neighborhood, I knew she must have been walking for some time. I wondered why she was here. She said “Susan, do you know me?”. I said, “Of course I do—you are the new girl in Mrs. Atkinson’s class. You had your ‘What I did over the summer’ essay posted on the bulletin board.” In my academically competitive persona, I knew who she was. My essay had not made it to the prized place of honor, but hers had. “Why are you here”, I asked.
Joyce explained that her Mother had suggested she take a walk around her new neighborhood and try to meet some friends. Because she had just moved the previous June, her summer had been decidedly long and lonely. Now that school had begun, Joyce was more confident and was trying to fit in. Somehow, her journey today had led her to my street, and she had recognized me.
Even in my agitated state I liked her right away and was happy she had stopped to talk. We stood there for a while just visiting, and when my Father came out to see what I was doing, I introduced him to my new friend. He suggested that the two of us walk to the local soda shop for something cool on this beautiful, hot, fall day. When he went into the house, he returned several minutes later with fifty cents for each of us to purchase an ice cream treat. My new friend, Joyce and I enjoyed the rest of the afternoon chatting and licking our deliciously unexpected delights. I was sorry when Joyce had to leave, but it was getting late, and her Mother would be worried. We waved “good-bye” knowing we would see each other again, soon.
That first meeting happened sixty-five years ago, and here’s the thing; we are still devoted friends. Over the years, we have celebrated birthdays, weddings, the births of our children, work promotions, Christmases, high school reunions, as well as grieved divorces, the illnesses and deaths of our parents, husbands, and close friends. Now, when we meet for lunch from time to time, we reminisce about that fortuitous ice cream and bike meeting so long ago. We share our current stories, laugh, cry and hug….and tell each other “I love you” before we part. Neither of us remembers when that deep affection began, but it is present now; because we are silent and pensive, we know the significance of us.
On my front lawn that fall, we somehow knew right away. A simple walk led to our lifelong journey.
How lucky are we!