The Framework of friendships
This third doorway of the series on “After” involves a phone call that I had with a good friend just the other day. She has asked me to keep her anonymous for her own security. Of course in today’s world, security is important so I have changed her name to Anne.
Friendships have many different shapes and forms in today’s world. Recently another friend of the family was discussing how he had to explain to his 13 year old son that just because you follow someone on a social media account, that does not make that someone your friend. We “be-friend,” we follow, we like and so forth, but it’s the old fashioned friendships that are real and true.
The frame work of a friendship takes many different shapes. Some are work relationships, some church, some school, some family and some are unexplainable. We have to dig around a bit to find the beginning of that connection. And after awhile, we realize all of the things that we have in common with one person or another are the slides that hinge our friendships. As if one is the door jamb and the other the door, the bond is built on these common experiences.
My husband decided to begin glueing my little writing table together for me. Of course the temperature outside made it a bit sketchy on the glue bonding. So he brought the drawer in the house to finish it. The idea that some construction project or machine part might be gracing my kitchen table has never really bothered me. He’s a bit like his dad in that respectt, and sometimes 72 degrees and some newspaper is the best atmosphere to detail some project. Eating with bar clamps and wood glue just has to be overlooked. The result will be worth it.
The framework of the drawer was in need of some help to be more sturdy. Weakness on the corners had made pulling the drawer out or pushing it back in quite a job for the strong. It reminded me of some things that Anne and I talked about on the phone the other day.
When I asked Anne if I could share her story with my readers, her first reaction was no. I understand, most elderly people have a desire to remain private. They do not want others to see them in their vulnerable state.
Age has a way of defining one’s weaknesses in a way that is much too real. My grandmother also suffered from the aging effects of osteoporosis and her physical weakness left her in debilitating pain. Anne has osteoporosis also. There are times when i see her that I worry about hugging her. What if, like a fragile rose or beautiful vase, just a hug is like a crushing grip. But we hug none-the-less. She is so loving and caring and I know that she needs that hug as much as I do.
Anne told me about her memory. How she wished there were things that she could forget. One of the things was the rattle snakes from the ranching years. We talked about strong minds. Ignoring the topic of the weak body. Her recollection of those years is both humorous and vivd. I asked her if the memories ever keep her away with nightmares. No, she said, thank goodness.
I never thought of Anne as “like my grandma” to me. She has always been a good friend even though there are many things she does not know about me. I know there are others that she is closer in thought with. These people that she sees each week at church or in Bible study. It has never bothered me that she has other friends that have suited her needs in other areas. I simply find the phone calls very refreshing. From the talk about the early years, to all of her boasting about the kids, and grandkids, I am just glad to visit with her once in a while.
Years ago, we knew Anne best in the “couple” format. Her love of her spouse and the way that they connected to our family through the many shared experiences makes me want to stay in tough. The framework of all those memories are like numbers in a dot-to-dot color book. Yet the dots continue on into the next page.
Not too long ago I realized that another couple who came along side Anne during the year or so before her husband’s passing,some how just faded out of her life. Anger seized me at their lack of “stick-to-it” -tiveness. I even held a grudge towards then for some time. I don’t understand how friends are so seasonal and disappear like an early spring snowfall. How could they just abandon her need fro friendships after his death. Their connection to him had been stronger than seeing her need after.
My heart ached for her during those days. So many days were so alone. And to have friends that did not stick by after…. She never told me what happened. But I was happy that another couple from her church stepped in to fill the gap.
Doorways and frameworks that need repair rarely happen today. Friends come and go. But the one that sticks closer than a brother… I just hope that I never shut the door on my friendship with Anne. Even if she does not want me to share her stories about the long years of their happily married life. Anne is one of those strong minded, solid, gorilla-glue friends.
Another name for the door’s threshold piece is saddle. Many of our friendships are like that. We saddle the fence and try to ride out the differences that we have, never really taking the true tests of real relationships. Sometimes we have to actually pull the saddle out and put in on the horse and go for a long trail ride just to find out what really makes someone stick. I hope that my sharing won’t put a stop to our long talks. Each time we visit is a passage into another door panel that is like adding a lock rail to our friendship.
Memories. Written by myself in December of 1986, my senior year of high school
…Oh the memories
I could write all day
I could talk until dawn
But what is their use
If only to one day loose
…Oh, the memories
I do not forget
They will not be
That I have