Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ode to Friendship

September 11, 1976, was one of the luckiest days of my life.  I had my first baby that day AND I met a lifelong friend.

As they were wheeling me down the hallway after my surgery, Margaret Large was sending a fervent prayer to GOD that the raucous lady on the stretcher would NOT be deposited in the empty bed next to hers.  God, in his infinite wisdom, ignored her.  That's how we ended up laughing so hard that our stomachs hurt.  We've laughed a lot during our friendship.  And cried some, too.  Life is like that.  

Margaret is the reason that I became a vegetarian.  She gave me a book called The Supermarket Handbook and that did it for me.  She never quite made the switch but that didn't stop me from trying.  She's also the reason that I eat spaghetti, but that's a story too gross to tell...

Because of Margaret, I own my very favorite jacket, a boiled wool classic that has seen years of use, with no end in sight.  "It's too expensive!" I lamented.  "It's classy.  Buy it." she said.  So I did.  Everyone needs a sensible friend like that.

Because our friendship spans decades, the stories go on, on and on.  We never lived near each other, but back in the day, our families would both go to her parents' house in North Vernon and spend weekends together there. It was a quieter life there than we led, and the people worked a lot harder too.  A trip to the Suhre farm meant lots of laughter and lots of great food!  Our visits always were mentioned in the grapevine section of the local paper which was a huge thrill for the kids.

An avid quilter, Margaret would say, "If I could just get you to try it, I know you'd love it as much as I do!"  The day came when she arrived for a visit, bringing two sewing machines and demanding that we make my first quilt together.  I consented to make a lap quilt and she told me I'd regret not making it big enough to put on a bed. You know what?  She was right.  It's so beautiful; I treasure it!  When we were finished though, we both knew that would be my only quilt.  She gave it the old college try though!

Meanwhile, Bob, her big, huggable teddy bear of a husband sat on my deck and cheerfully read novels.  That was Bob, quiet and steady - he and Margaret had been in love since grade school.   

We stayed in touch year after year, through happy and sad - and there were some big happies and some really big sads.  That's what friends do.  Margaret and her husband Bob were our friends.  The really, really best kind. My life has been better because of our friendship. 

"When God wants me, there is no man who can stand in his way." (I think that was said by Beth in one of the film versions of Little Women.)  Yesterday, God wanted my dear friends Bob and Margaret.  I would have stood in his way if I could have.  I'm not alone, either.  

 There are no words to express the sadness that everyone who knew them feels.
Jerry only dances with close male friends


PS  To the idiot reporter who covered their car accident, 66 IS NOT ELDERLY!!!

6 comments:

Rhona said...

Oh God, Chris. There are no words, not enough sorries..oh my dear...how awful. Hang on, Chris. You must hang on.

Cindy Preston said...

So sorry to hear this! I was feeling bad because my friends are moving tomorrow. sure put that in perspective!

Kathie Aldum said...

Love and light Chris and to their family. :'(

Jan Miller said...

Thinking of you and sending love & support via www (surely it can do this good thing) a youthful Jan & Steve x x x

Kate Zimmerman said...

This is a very sweet post, nicely done.

Ashley said...

Thank you for this. I had been friends with Claire since 5th grade, and kept in touch with Margaret on Facebook. I still can't believe they're gone. I always enjoyed the old pictures Margaret would post of her earlier life, so this was nice to read.