Have you ever had a close friendship with someone but were separated through consequences beyond your control? You move away from each other; get too busy to write or even call or just lose contact with them. You feel sad that all of those memories of shared experiences fade in your memory and evidently theirs too. So after a few years of trying to reconnect you both give up.
My husband and I lived in New Orleans for eight years while he went to seminary. We enjoyed making some great friends with whom with shared many wonderful times: eating together, going out together, kidding around, and just sharing life events. We helped each other out in times of need while we lived near each other too.
After eight years my husband’s education was over and we moved away in search of new roots to set down where we could both work and have a family. After a teaching job in Mississippi, we moved back home to South Carolina for awhile.
One very unusual pair of friends we found in New Orleans was Bob and Macy. My husband and I liked both of these people who were at the time barely cognizant of each other. Bob, a music major from the seminary shared an off campus apartment with three other male seminary students across the tennis court from us in our apartment complex. Bob was tall and thin, quiet, intelligent, creative, enjoyed sewing and cooking.
My husband met Macy, also a church music major at the seminary and we both enjoyed her vivacious personality. Macy was short, spirited, strong, decisive, intelligent, and logical. Well, my husband and I introduced Bob and Macy. The funny thing was that Macy was very much like my husband, and Bob was very much like me. When we got together Bob and I would discuss something in common and my husband and Macy would talk away about something involving politics or some other controversial subject. Soon Bob and Macy were married and we shared a lot of evenings talking and eating with them.
After graduation each of us couples moved off and lost touch with each other somehow over the years.
Fast forward 8 years. My husband and I had finally found a small church for him to serve in; I was working in a hospital ICU/CCU; and we had a six year old son. We went to a crowded popular amusement park in Charlotte about an hour from our Rutherford County home. It was about 2 in the afternoon and we had just gotten off of the ride that spins around in the water and gets you soaking wet.
As we were walking out of the exit for the ride something made me look to the right. About 100 feet away I saw the long and short figures of our old friends Bob and Macy! Between them walked a cute little boy about the age of our son! What are the odds of running into two long lost friends in a crowded amusement park?? We got together once more and then our work and families seemed to consume our time and we lost touch again.
After my husband’s death I went to see them and had a great time catching up. But yet again we lost touch until their son mentioned on Facebook that his mother was ill.
Another couple we met in New Orleans was Sven and Chrissy. Sven gave my husband an off campus job with computers. We soon found ourselves enjoying their company many weekend evenings after a 35 minute drive to their house. They enjoyed eating, talking with us and playing all kinds of table games, including Bridge.
Sven and Chrissy had a baby girl whom we enjoyed playing with for a few years until we moved away in search of a place where my husband’s education could be put to good use. We stayed in touch with them long enough to know that later they had a set of twin daughters.
They sent us pictures of their beautiful daughters for a few years but in the process of life we lost touch with them also.
It took the news in 2005 of Hurricane Katrina to instigate a call to Sven and Chrissy. They were safe, having taken refuge from the storm and only had water damage to their garage. We were greatly relieved. I called them four years later to inform them of my husband’s death. And as with the other friends the lines of communication stretched and broke. They did send pictures of their three grown daughters and their families in their Christmas cards.
Fast forward five years I was visiting my brother and my sister in law in Simpsonville, SC, which I only do about once every two months. My sister in law and I always enjoy shopping together and eating at the healthy food restaurant there for lunch. We were having a nice lunch when all of a sudden one of Sven’s and Chrissy’s daughters walked in and sat at a nearby table! What are the odds that one of Sven’s and Chrissy’s daughters would be in Simpsonville and at the same restaurant on the very weekend I was there?
Excitedly I got up and introduced myself. She instantly remembered me as part of the couple who gave their parents the wooden manger for Christmas when she was little. See story at https://joyful2beeblogs.com/2016/12/21/a-manger-of-memories/ .
She then gave me the exciting news that her parents were moving to Simpsonville the following year! Since their move I have enjoyed several visits with Sven and Chrissy and was thankful to have their friendship after all of these years without them in my life.
These friends and how dear they were to us reminded me of a verse from the old Girl Scout song:
Make new friends;
But keep the old.
One is silver,
And the other gold.