This morning on the Today show they did a report on the importance of best friends among women. I'm sure someone got a grant and spend thousands to determine that it is vital for women to have a best friend. Duh!
When I think of the friends I have been blessed with, I could have written the report without spending a dime. From early childhood I recall my time with Shirley, one of my closest lifelong friends. She was four years older than I was and was my protector. She kept the mean boys from bullying me and watched out for my safety. We still laugh at the dangerous situations she led me into when my mother was certain that I was safe because I was with Shirley, but for the most part, she did watch out for me.
My grade school and jr. high friend was Marla. She and I spent hours together, mostly at her house, and I have so many wonderful memories of the fun we had. She even went on vacation with me and my mom and dad once, and I went with her family to visit relatives in Texas. Today I received a Hoops and Yoyo ecard from her that made me laugh at the silliness. The only time I ever remember getting taken to the principal's office in high school was because I slapped her old boyfriend. My loyalty to Marla was worth the detention.
During high school Cathy Madden and I spent so many hours together being silly. Cathy was (and is) one of those strikingly beautiful girls that boys flocked to (well boys don't flock to her now). It was fun just watching the antics of those boys trying to get her attention. Most girls didn't know Cathy the way I did. She was the silliest, most fun person to hang out with. Many of my best memories from high school are the times Cathy and I were at one or the other of our houses and doing the goofiest stuff. (I have pictures.)
LaDonna was my college roommate for the first semester of our freshman year. We had to change roommates at the semester because we were in a sorority. I've always regretted that. LaDonna and I were perfect roomies; I never did find another one as compatible, except Tony.
Phyllis Bolt and I had great times in high school and college and continue to stay close. Whether we meet by accident at Walmart or meet for dinner on a planned evening, we never are at a loss for words. I know I can count on her, and I hope she knows she can count on me.
After I left Ada and started school in Edmond, I became friends with Jeanne Capps. We were in the same major, so we had almost all of our classes together. Recently Jean and I reconnected on Facebook. Life has knocked us both around, but we have maintained our friendship.
During those college years, Tony and I would move to Stillwater so that he could work construction. That was when my friendship with Kay Bosworth was affirmed. We knew one another from Ada, but those summers bonded us completely. She now lives in North Carolina, but when she comes here, we meet and have dinner. It feels to me like we just pick up where we left off. Today I got an email from her that she will be here in a couple of weeks. I can't wait.
Teresa Smith was and is my best friend starting with the many of the years that we lived in Wellston. We shopped, sewed, attended ballgames, played Scrabble, really did everything together for many years.
When I moved back to Tecumseh, Cindy Hale and I became great friends. We have traveled to Tulsa, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Houston, skiing, and various other places together and are completely compatible travelers. Even though she has moved, I am certain that our friendship will continue.
Now my friends are a motley crew. As is typical with adults, we find our friends at work and for me at church. Some of these people are the same. The interesting thing is the age range. My closest friends, Toni, Mel, and Gina are all younger than I am
by quite a bit. Mel could be my daughter; Toni and Gina could be my daughters if I began having children when I was twelve, but we really enjoy doing things together.
I learned the value of friendship after Jason's death in a way that I never knew before. My friends took care of everything--food, money, funeral arrangements, flowers, the program--everything. I can't tell you how many Sonic Diet Cokes I received because everyone brought me one when they came to see me. Poor Cindy got the Kleenex detail the day of the funeral. She would bring me new ones and take the old ones from me. Now that's friendship.
According to the Today show report, best friends are good for women's mental health. If all women had the friendships that I have had, counselors wouldn't be able to make a living. I can talk to any of these friends about my issues. I don't have to pay anyone to listen to me. The coolest thing is that all of these friends have remained in my life.