What Makes a Life-Long Friend?

What is it, I wonder, that allows us to be life-long friends with some people and friends for only a season with others? If you read my previous blog, you know that this past weekend I was in Portland, OR for our son’s graduation from college. The bonus of being in Portland is that I also get to visit my brother and his family, and a couple of old friends. And by old, I am referring to the duration of our friendship, not our age – though both could apply.

My friend, Angie, is one of the first people I met when I moved to Cannon Falls 32 years ago. She helped me figure out life in Minnesota. When I suggested a picnic in October, way before its crisp days had arrived, Angie clued me in to my naivety regarding the weather. We raised kids together, sewed, scrapbooked, did Bible studies, and laughed ourselves silly more times than I can remember. For awhile, our paths split, but in the last few years we’ve reconnected and when we are together we have to force ourselves to shut up and go to bed. One minute we’ll be deep in serious discussion, and the next we’ll be in hysterics.

Angie moved to Oregon three years ago so now our time together is limited to infrequent visits and chats on the phone. But, we are still great friends and we’re always able, it seems, to start up where we left off.

I was also able to see my friend, Claudia in Portland. I don’t exactly remember when I met Claudia, but I’m fairly certain it was before I ever went to Kindergarten. Claudia’s parents and my parents went to college together and as a kid we lived 100 miles apart. I remember family trips for a weekend visit, and, as I got older, taking the train to spend a few days with Claudia and her family. Man, we had fun; going to the beach, watching scary movies through the holes in the crocheted afghan, talking about boys, playing games, and, I’m sure, making her mother nuts. We even went to horse camp together. Claudia enjoyed that experience way more than I did.

When I had lunch with Claudia she came bearing the obligatory pictures of her kids (the one I never seem to remember), and her photo album of years gone by. Oh my, the pictures! The worst was of us at Disneyland with our little brothers. We must have been 13 or 14 and there I sat with my long, straight hair in pigtails with two huge grosgrain ribbons tied into bows on each side. What was I thinking?

As I flipped through her old album, I also found myself traveling back in time to my first dance with a boy; he in his rented light blue tuxedo, and me in my beautiful pink dress. Together we looked like we’d just emerged from the newborn nursery in outfits that clearly stated our gender.

I must have sent Claudia all of my “boyfriend” pictures. She still has, in her album, a photo of me with the guy I dated right before I met John. Both of those pictures have long since left my memory books though I’m not sure why. I suppose it just seemed like the respectful thing to do when I got married. She offered to give them to me. I declined knowing that once every few years was often enough to revisit them.

So, what is it that makes these two women life-long friends? I’ve had other friends that I’ve done equally fun things with, shared with, and laughed with but for some reason we don’t seem to stay connected once they move away (John and I never move so you can’t blame me.) I can’t say that I really know why some friendships last forever and others fade along the way. All I know is I’m glad these two friends are still in my life.

They know too much to have it any other way.

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