Importance of Close Friends

I recently told my longtime neighbor and friend that my husband and I were considering a major purchase. “They cost $600 dollars a piece,” I said, “and we’ll need two. It’s not a fun investment, kind of like shelling out money for a new roof or appliance.”

My friend nodded. “True, but it needs to be done.”

My husband and I have lived next door to this neighbor and her husband for 40 years; 41 this coming July. They’re the kind of people who will pick up our mail when we’re gone, snow-blow our driveway if we can’t, and call us if the night sky is especially beautiful.

The older I get, the more I realize the importance of friendships. I enjoy meeting new people through my writing groups, volunteer groups, and new ventures such as pickleball, but I especially appreciate my longterm friendships.

My friend said, “We really ought to buy some, too.” She turned to me and chuckled. “Maybe we could find four together.”

I realized she was serious. We’ve shared so many of the same experiences over the years. Should we share this, too?

It’s remarkable all the things the four of us have in common. We’re retired educators, attend the same church, and are in several of the same organizations. We prefer simple restaurants such as Cracker Barrel followed by a stop at McDonald’s for ice cream cones for dessert. We’re both parents to an elder son and two daughters. We’ve attended family birthdays, graduations, weddings, and baby showers for our future grandchildren. Did we also want to do this together?

“Let’s make the appointment,” I say, nodding to this friend with years of shared history.

History comes to mind when the four of us drive to our appointment with Bob Hall. We park, meet him, and walk around. We discuss in length the merits of high vs. low ground, shade vs. sunshine, and the advantages of the newer section vs. the older section. After some debate and a few jokes about it really not mattering since we won’t be around to see it, we agree on high ground, sunshine, and the new section.

We return to the car. We’ve already switched topics to whether our schedules can mesh and we can get together for dinner some evening. Even though our lives are crazy busy with meetings, family, and grandchildren, we work to find a date. I’m glad and thankful to have found such dear friends. Close friends who, in life, enjoy spending time together and now, after we write our checks to the city clerk’s office and buy our adjacent cemetery plots, will also be close in death.

Yes, once you find dear friends, it’s best to keep them close.

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