“Don’t walk in front of me… I may not follow
Don’t walk behind me… I may not lead
Walk beside me… just be my friend”
Like fine wine, friends are crucial to happiness as people age. For reasons over seasons, sometimes for lifetimes, friends become the very family, we aspire to have. When we do find these gems, we need to cultivate, hold on and celebrate these treasures, for it is these friends that are the riches in this stage called life.
Having said that, I will, one disastrous toxic friendship later, be quick to advise that we need to be wary of those we invite into our souls. Those that offer unconditional love, have no agendas , these are the people we need to embrace and purpose into our lives.
Needless to say, there are many types of friendships, some who had glimpses into our soul and stayed, some who knows us better than others, sometimes even ourselves and those we can count on, irrespective of the situation. These are the gifts we gift ourselves.
Inspired by the winning drama movie, “How to make an American Quilt”, watching Bride-to-be Finn Dodd have tales recounted by elders, all friends who chose to construct a quilt, as a wedding gift, I chose to remember and validate my blessings, good friends lovingly gathered over decades.
My local friend Sheila makes the most amazing coffee, honeyed sweetness, lovingly ladled, frothy perfection presented with loving eyes and a warm smile, she makes everything all right. Coffee in her kitchen is the best balm for my soul, my husband loves her, more so, for her excellent banana puri. Needless to say, my kids can do no wrong. Ask Sheila how we met and she will tell you that I bullied her into being my friend!
Saira and Fazila, my ex travel friends, have coaxed me into their lives with glorious food, winning little people ,their support during the estrangement with my family has been unshakeable.
Heather, on the other hand, is a dose of elegant, feminine love, her words worded well, enunciated beautifully and her sense of humour, wittily precious.
Despite the geographic distance, Verona, with her Afrikaans taal , thanks to Whatsapp, her presence becomes almost palpable, such is her personality and impact on our lives over decades.
Robin now, stands out as a man amongst men. Quietly dignified, intelligent and recently a Grandad Superman, such is his reaching personality and aptitude for familial love. Almost single-handedly, his vision has now resulted in a little clan but sadly also now across the seas.
Natalie my beautiful blonde friend, in her German accent, makes everything naturally wondrous with her presence, smile and catching laughter. Her recent visit to Spain inspired a fabulous red and black fan and treats for me so carefully considered, the best off course, being a hand written note that gets translated into English and painfully transcribed to me.
Since my friends are not always on hand, the moments to connect are few and far between, but when we do, it is memorable. Thankfully with technology, we are able to adapt and communicate.
We raise each other, inspire and anticipate visits, often accompanied with good food, with much laughter in good times and bad, in happy and sad. Friends are the mainstay of our lives.