Friday, March 21, 2008

If you ask me...

The last few days have been blessedly busy. A dear friend from Michigan drove all the way down here to Mississippi to visit me and we had a blast. Karen and I go back a long, long way. We worked together in the same office, married in 1970, became single parents in 1977, and had our children (two for her, three for me) one after another--starting in 1972 and working our way through 1976. To top it all off, our divorces were final during the same month of the same year.

There are other similarities in the twisting and turning paths our lives have taken, but one of the most interesting is that we're both writers. Karen and I even co-authored a newspaper column at one time. It was called "If You Ask Me..." and it appeared on Saturdays; she wrote it one week, I wrote it the next. But our shared column wasn't the only thing we wrote. Every spare minute of our adult lives, I believe, has been spent either jotting something down, observing others (and thinking of ways to incorporate their quirky ways into our latest work), reading, or actually sitting down and composing. We've helped one another with grammar, punctuation, wording, editing, titling--you name it, we've discussed it. We survived failed marriages, worked fulltime while raising little children in single-parent homes, and managed to stay one step ahead of the bill collectors when we were young and poor.

These last few days flew by. We laughed until our sides hurt at the crazy things we did (and thought) as idealistic young, single moms, and marveled at how well we turned out despite the frazzled lives we lived. We spent hours reminiscing, catching up with the events that transpired since we last saw one another. We reconnected in a way that emails and phone calls, as nice as they are, just can't do.

She's off to Gulf Shores now, and after that she'll travel to Tuscaloosa and then on up to Louisville to catch up with other old friends she holds dear. Karen may be a little on the crazy side, but that's exactly why I love her--and why her other friends cherish her friendship, as well. She shows me how to laugh in the face of adversity, how to cry when it's the only thing to do, to laugh when it's the best thing to do, and to be a friend under all circumstances. She brings out the best in me.

Thanks, Karen, for loving me enough to drive all this way for a visit and for reminding me once more what real friendship is all about. If you ask me, you're the best that ever was.

Until the next time...

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