Thinking and thinking. So many things swirling through my mind as I once again live through the last days of Jim's life, working my way to the day he died four years ago.
With all that hanging around in my memories I have been grateful for a few unexpected phone calls from childhood friends. They called to connect not because of this impending anniversary.
Early this week my friend Jennie called out of the blue from the Mid-west where she and her husband moved a few months ago. Jennie and I met each other in the Second Grade at the Elizabeth Elementary School in Charlotte. We went to school together through our high school graduation. The we reconnected in 1964 when we discovered each other here in Maryland where I have been proud of her for 37 successful years in the Maryland State House and Senate. The other night we talked of her new dailies, of what she and Bill are doing to build a new community for themselves - which includes new shopping areas, meeting with groups of people and finding interesting places in their new home-place. I admire them and the way they are just jumping in and finding a new place for themselves. We did not talk about it but we remember her being here during those last days for which I am forever grateful.
Then several days ago I called my cousin Jim in North Carolina to ask him for a phone number I have lost. Hearing his voice, the accent and the familiar way he paces his words, takes me right back into the bosom of my Dad's family. He gives me the phone number and then we launch free wheeling through some things on our minds - other than politics. I don't risk any of my family relationships by talking about politics. Jimmy and I enjoy laughing together and if we argue its over who has the correct memory of where something was then. I love it - because I love him. I can feel that he knows this is a prickly time for me - we don't have to talk about it.
Then last night after supper the phone rang. Karen read off the ID numbers and says, "Mom, its from North Carolina." "Well answer it." I heard her saying something like, "No, I am not. She's here. Just a minute." "Mom its your friend Bill." In just a minute I heard a very familiar voice that yanked me right back to Piedmont Junior High School in Charlotte." I hear him ask a question and I start laughing, "No, that was not my care-giver - - its my daughter Karen, you know her."
He then says, "I was looking for somebody else's number to call and then I saw yours - so I called you."
"Gee, thanks - that's not the most flattering thing you could have said." We laughed and laughed - you know the kind of laughing that makes you feel good because it wraps you in warm memories. "I am OK." I told him. "good days and not so good days."
He and I will both turn 80 this year - we have history. I don't care how he decided to make the call. I am just glad he did.
Glad to talk this week with Bill, with Jennie and with my cousin Jim. So glad that I called my forever best friend Betsy who lives in PA this morning to tell her about the calls. We laughed and laughed and laughed.
I love technology - that makes these connections possible. And, I agree with Norman Cousins - laughter is good medicine.
This is a story from the Ninth Grade - and Bill plays a part.
Friends are the real treasures, aren't they?