True friendships are priceless. To quote an old African proverb “A friend is a hand that is always holding yours, no matter how close or far apart you may be. A friend is someone who is always there and will always, always care. A friend is a feeling of forever in the heart.”
Throughout my life there have been more than a handful of people I have been fortunate to call friends. I don’t see many of them as often as I should, and sometimes I miss making phone calls to say hello, or wish them happy birthday. One friend just celebrated a very special birthday. While all birthdays are special, Alfredia (aka Fred) was born during Leap Year, so it is only once every four years she celebrates on the actual day she was born . . . and I forgot to call her!
Fred never misses a birthday call and is too laid back to wave a ‘How could you forget’ flag in my face, nonetheless, I still feel guilty!
Perhaps the guilt is because she always remembers my birthday, and we’ve been friends since pre-school. When she reads this post she’ll probably say, “Aw, girl, no worries, I know you were feelin me!” Yeah, I’ll always be feeling you Fred, because childhood friends like you are one in a million.
We met in Sunday school during a time when lacy ankle socks and patent leather shoes accessorized our girly-girl outfits; which included bonnets and scratchy crinoline lined dresses!
After Sunday school, Fred and I would sit for the next hour of church service with our mothers. Scratchy dresses and hard wooden pews made it tough to sit still, but we did; smiling at each other whenever our moms weren’t looking, for fear of a slap on our leg if we got too wiggly. The minister would barely be finished with the benediction and last “amen” before we ran outside!
As a young girl, Fred had the thickest longest hair I had ever seen. I remember thinking how much pain she had to endure each morning when her mom twisted, pulled and braided all that hair into submission.
Over the years there have been many adventures and changes in our lives; we have shared giggles and exhilaration of new loves, and lots tears and tissues after painful heartbreaks. As we entered our 20s and 30s, it was first marriages, the birth of our children and a devastating divorce. We have supported each other through serious sickness and lost of family and friends; we got through these times by sharing our grief and loving each other even more. When we get together, it doesn’t matter if months have passed between calls or visit, we are able to pick up where we left off, telling and re-telling the same funny stories.
All of my friends are strong, independent, loving people, and it’s comforting to know that if, and when tough times come, all I have to do is look over my shoulder and I’ll see faces of good friends, like Fred who have my back.
Happy belated birthday my friend.