Friends sure are something. And there are all sorts. As Mr. Webster puts it, a friend is “a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection.” That’s about right, I’d say. A companion, a confidant. A chum, a sidekick, a pal. And on occasion, some friends are like magic.
I’ve had some incredibly good ones throughout the years. But they have changed. And so have I.
When we start out in this world, exploring the fringes beyond our family circle, we begin making new friends. For some, it comes easy, and for others, it is a daunting endeavor. But no matter the scale, we all begin to make friends.
And when we are young, our friends can talk us in to just about anything. Well. Maybe not you. But me, for sure. When I was seven-years-old, my best pal talked me into trying a cigarette. We were in the alley between Knecht Drive and Bruce Avenue. It was the section behind the apartments, and in front of the garage with the green door and the broken windows. My very first puff of a Marlboro Red. Yes. My friend suggested this clandestine undertaking, and I spinelessly accepted. I was seven. Heck, when Captain Kangaroo told me to stand up and twirl around with my hands on shoulders, I became a twirling maniac in front of that black & white TV. Malleable.
Our brains try to think for themselves at those young times in our lives. But our brains have a lot of growing to do, and all of our surroundings are still so fresh, and new. So we become greatly influenced by the world around us. We have very few experiences with which to compare.
I started full-time smoking when I was fourteen. Finally, twenty-three-years later, I wiggled myself away from “The Curse of the Green-Doored-Garage.“ And that was the way of the world.
Friends. We go through the years making a wide range of friends, in all walks of life. From best pals on the Little League Teams, to schoolmates, to work associates, to garden clubs. Certain friends are light, and fun, and glancing. And then. Some friends mean more to us than others. Some friends are like gold.
The older I get, the fewer “Golden” friends I have. They are the ones who are part of the “Left Off” Phenomenon. No matter where in time, we “left off,” we always pick right up again, at that very same spot. Those comfort friends.
Last night, we had dinner out with a couple of those friends. We laughed. We talked about crying. We mentioned politics and current events. We considered the Chestnut Tree, or lack thereof. We even mused at our collective 3,000 Facebook Friends. And we came up with our good “middle” nicknames.
Mine, by the way, is Polly “Keep-An-Eye-On-Things” Kronenberger.
At the end of the evening, we dropped them off at their home, and we took a few moments to stroll through their beautiful flower gardens. We viewed all the caterpillars, who are waiting patiently to become butterflies. We even confiscated an eggplant.
And then, my friend Janet, pointed to one of the flowers, and said, “Have you ever smelled one of these?” I got down on the ground, and took in a deep breath of the sweetest smelling fragrance, a lemony-delight, floating out of the elegant long bud. I asked what it was called, and she said, “An Angel’s Trumpet.”
Yes, our friends evolve. And so do we.
I started out, with mine, choking back a Marlboro in a dark alley.
And now, I stroll and bask in the bouquet — in the splendor of the Angels’ Trumpets.
We grow. And so do our relationships.
Yes. Our friends. They are like magic.
“Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joys, and dividing our grief”
― Marcus Tullius Cicero
“The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers & cities; but to know someone who thinks & feels with us, & who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
“Pooh!” he whispered.
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”
― A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner