Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Riches of Friendship

Having packed bags, made weekend arrangements for husbands, kids and pets, and traveled from three different states, we four forty-somethings were gathered in Julie’s kitchen in Ridgefield, Connecticut by seven on Friday evening and, in the ensuing forty-something hours, barely left the casual comfort of her great room. Sure, we poked around in the downtown shops on Saturday morning, had a bite of lunch at Fifty Coins, rented a cute, feel-good movie for Saturday night and took a dip or two in the pool, but mostly we reminisced about the past, caught up on the here and now, and planned our next get-together.

Our past includes one year as floor mates in Ruef Hall, one as apartment mates in Watson Courts and 24-plus as friends who, although often in touch only at the holidays and birthdays, are always close in each others’ hearts. As though we were lunching back at our little table in the Courts, The Young and the Restless on in the background, we recalled Julie’s stay in Easton Hospital to fight a mono infection, Laneco runs in my clunky Dodge Aspen, Deedee’s nice-guy boyfriend Hal, and Terry’s phone calls from England during her semester abroad. Oh yes, in between our soap-opera-watching lunches, our Sunday night sorority meetings, our pub night dancing escapades at fraternities and our countless upper class meal plan dinners at KDR, we went to class, studied, wrote papers, took tests and absorbed the fine liberal arts and engineering education we were fortunate to have available to us.

As far as the here and now, we shared family photos, kvetched about in-laws, provided updates about spouses, parents, siblings, kids, jobs and dates, compared cholecystectomy scars and hypertension meds and, to a person, noted the ever increasing volume of the television in our parents’ homes. Thankfully, everyone there is relatively healthy and active, and we know we’re lucky that’s the case.

By Sunday afternoon, we’d laughed and cried, made a teeny-tiny dent in the catching up and agreed to gather again next year…perhaps with husbands and kids in tow. Indeed, how lucky each of us is for friends who are like family, for decades-ago memories of good times that still make us glow, and for the promise of more riches of friendship in our lives in the years and decades ahead.