Friday, November 21, 2008


By Lonnie Cruse

What draws you into a friendship with someone else? Similar tastes? Similar interests? Similar opinions? Similar points of view? Similar needs?

We meet someone new, we share bits of ourselves, and, finding common ground, a new friendship begins.

Friends support each other, share good times and bad, teach each other, learn from each other, laugh together and cry together. Friends keep loneliness at bay. Friends bail us out when we need it, or better still, let us learn from our own mistakes when we need it. Friends tell us the truth when we need it . . . but in a loving way, so we can handle it.

I met my best female friend, Debby, when she moved to our town many years ago. Like Anne Shirley says in AVONLEA, we’re soul mates. We share many common interests, but more important, we’ve helped each other grow and learn. And we’ve supported each other in very difficult times.

My oldest friend, Francie, was born into the large family across the street from mine when I was eight months old. We now live many miles apart but stay in touch. Friendships are too important to let die. And I keep in touch with Sandy, my high school buddy who was with me the night I met my hubby.

My newest friend was a chance encounter with a woman at least twenty years my senior while on vacation at Gulf Shores, Alabama. I noticed her beautiful cameo pin and commented on it. She said it was her mother’s, which means it’s probably nearly a hundred years old. We kept chatting, sharing information about our families, etc. and when it came time for her to leave, she asked for my address so we could exchange cards when we got home. I’d been trying to figure out a polite way to ask for hers, being reluctant to part, knowing I’d likely never see her again, so her request warmed my heart. She’s a fascinating woman and I look forward to learning more about her and from her.

Friends come in all shapes and sizes. Take these two who met on the beach recently at Gulf Shores. Notice the bird patiently waiting while the boy, his new best friend, fishes in the gulf.

Each time the boy caught a small fish, the bird would move closer, trusting his new friend to do him good and not harm. And the bird was rewarded. (Sigh, yes, I DO know we aren’t supposed to feed wildlife. You really expected me to tell either of these two new friends that?) The boy was careful to throw the larger fish back into the gulf, knowing the bird’s narrow throat couldn’t handle them. The bird didn’t seem to mind as long as he got the small fish. And the boy was careful to toss the fish to the bird from a comfortable distance, not trying to hand feed the bird and risk a serious peck.

This particular friendship sprung up from the bird’s need to eat (and too lazy to find his own food when a freebie was so near) and the boy’s apparent need to help. When the boy goes back to school, he’ll miss the bird. And the bird will look for the boy until he realizes the boy isn’t coming back, then he’ll hunt his own food. But I don’t think they will forget each other.

Who is your best friend? What friend has made a big difference in your life? Taught you new things? Dared you to reach new levels? Supported you when you fell down and scraped your ego? So, when was the last time you let her/him know how important they are in your life?

Picture below is of my very best friend in the whole wide world. Sorry, ladies, he’s taken. You’ll have to excuse me now. It’s time to toss him another fish.


Anonymous said...

Lonnie, That was absoloutely beautiful. Isn't it amazing how someone else's writing seems so profound? I enjoyed your post, very much.
~ Dianne

Anonymous said...

Nice post, Lonnie. I'm guessing that young boy will remember feeding the bird the rest of his life. Thanks for sharing!

Janet K.

Lonnie Cruse said...

Thanks Dianne and Janet for stopping by and for your comments!

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Very sweet, Lonnie! I treasure my many friendships too, have kept them going by writing holiday letters every year for 40 years, and now feed them with healthy doses of email too. Right before reading this post, I read an email from a newly rediscovered friend who played cello with me (we shared a desk) in junior high and high school. She wrote to tell me she has a picture from our recent reunion of me with the cutest boy in the class--who remembers me as the smartest girl in the class. We were too shy 53 years ago to be friends--but now we are. :)

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Lonnie, you made me cry. This is a beautiful piece.
Friends are so precious, aren't they? My very closest friends are the gals I've known since we were little tots in diapers. Back when we were all little, our parents didn't have much money, so Saturday night entertainment was getting together with other young married couples at someone's house to play cards and just visit. And everyone brought their children, and just put us all on the floor with piles of toys. Must have been something right about that, since we're all still very close.

Lonnie Cruse said...

Liz, I love that you are friends from high school.

Kaye, friends from diaper days? Cool!