Sunday, March 22, 2015

TToT69: ...But Keep the Old

I'm following Dyanne's lead and getting in under the wire this weekend. This has been a particularly busy week, but there has been much GOOD.

The absolute most shining GOOD moment of this week (month?) was my Thursday when I got to spend several hours chatting a mile a minute IN PERSON with an old friend.

I don't think I can adequately express the happiness this brought me. She was recalling when we first met at my job interview at a school in Austin where she was already employed. My memories of her from that time are a woman in a mid-length skirt and a brown bob and a toddler on her hip. She taught me how to identify different oak trees by their leaves and bark, she introduced me to The Big Chill, and she helped me develop my skills at civil disobedience.

I was 24 years old in 2000 when I got that job, and I am still astonished that someone who I perceived as a real grown-up wanted to be friends with me. Now, fifteen years later, I am even more astonished because in my recollection I was so wildly naive and immature. I knew almost nothing about life. She has a memory of me throwing a banana peel at a colleague during those years. See what I mean? Immature. (For the record, I have no memory of this.)

This woman helped fertilize the seeds of environmentalism in me, planted by my parents, and eventual brought into full bloom during my years in Asheville. She inspired me to travel the world and live in another culture. She modeled for me the dangerous and necessary skill of thinking about what your boss asks you do to before you do it. And maybe, just maybe, deciding not to do it, damn the consequences.

She was more likely to encourage me not to follow her lead with straightforward communication of what she would consider her mistakes. But I could read between the lines, and I found much to admire. Several years into her own marriage, she taught me much about how challenging it can be and once said, "When you find someone you want to marry, I'll have him over for dinner, and if he's not good enough, I'll poison his food." Unflinchingly loyal.

How many recycling containers did we fill with beer bottles over those two years? I recall the peaceful feeling of splitting a six-pack of Abita Turbodog in her backyard, sitting in lawnchairs and watching her daughter exhaust herself on the trampoline while we discussed adulthood.

In so many ways, this woman taught me how to be an adult, but not an ordinary one. On Thursday I realized anew how glorious it is to have a friend to whom you can say anything, confess any wild position or preference, any silly peccadillo, and receive full support and/or understanding. There is an absolutely miniscule number of people in my life that fit this description. I think we feel this peace because we share so many thoughts and preferences, but also because neither of us has ever felt like we quite fit the mold, quite knew how to behave in polite society. But together, we can sink into relaxation.

Those two years I lived in Austin we golden years in many ways. At 24, I was just reaching my rebellious years (late developer here), and this woman, among others at our place of work, played a large role and helping me find the person I became. I thank her and love her for it.

So, that's what? Ten, Twenty, Thirty? I think I covered it.

Oh, and the gutter man just dropped by, did his job, got paid, and is gone. Check that one off the list. 

Ten Things of Thankful


 Your hosts

Join the Ten Things of Thankful Facebook Group

20 comments :

  1. FRIST! That is a beautiful, heartfelt tribute to your friend! I spent last week doing the same thing as you, talking a mile a minute with my closest friend. She lives a 9 hour drive away, which is entirely too far. We talked and laughed and cried when we said good bye. I love the reference to civil disobedience, as I think I first started reading your blog around the time you displayed some of that :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! I'm glad you had such a good time with your friend last week. We gotta hand onto 'em when we find 'em, even if they live far away, huh?

      Delete
  2. Such awesome memories of good times with your friend! I have had friends come into my life over the years, but am old enough to understand that the real gems stick around forever, and they're few and far between. :)

    I hope you have had a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Cynthia. The real gems do stick around, but I'd qualify that you don't have to be in regular contact. Even if it's intermittent (because life, you know), when you get together you pick up as if you never left off.

      Delete
  3. Ohhhhh this is delightful. I felt all warm and happy because you spoke with such absolute comfort of her. What a truly wonderful friend you have. I love that she's such a stalwart part of your life, and I'm SO glad you got to spend time with her. That renews the spirit, doesn't it?

    And yay gutters. Well done for that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The truth is, I think I had forgotten how comfortable I was with her until I saw her again. I think if I were Clark, I'd say our clark-like tendencies recognize themselves in each other.

      Delete
  4. That is fantastic, Sarah, and such a beautiful beautiful tribute to your friend and the friendship you share with her. Those friendships are rare. Really rare.
    Yay for the gutter man.
    And for the record, my Hub says never drink any beer with "fish" or "dog" in the name. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, they are. In my experience, for sure. I think I can count on one hand the friendships I have like hers. And then fewer the ones that have continued.
      OK, coffee with you (that Hubs made) and beer with Hubs. He and I like the same stuff, I see. But if he's not drinking Lagunitas beers, he's missing out.

      Delete
  5. What a wonderful friendship you share! I'm glad you got a chance to visit and catch up.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Magical years yes? I would have loved to see ya chuck a banana peel at some disgruntled coworker! Even if you repressed it later!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does sound kind of funny, doesn't it?

      Delete
  7. I'm happy to hear that you have been blessed with precious friendship. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. You are so fortunate to have such a beautiful relationship in your life! :) :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I definitely think that's thirty. I was smiling the whole time I was reading your post and I'm still smiling as I type this comment. You are blessed and fortunate to have this woman in your life as I am sure you have blessed her in a million ways as well. There are some really special people in our lives that time is not a dimension at all, we pick up where we left off and life is always good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly. I am fortunate to have this woman in mine. I hope my friendship has been meaningful to her, as well.

      Delete

Make my day and leave me a comment!