That#039;s what friends are for

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 13, 2002

The gift of friendship is one of life’s blessings that we tend to take for granted. I wonder sometimes where I would be without my friends.

My older sister Sara was my first ‘best friend.’ She was smart, talented and really nice to her (at times) pesky little sister. She told great stories during bath time and helped me make Barbie furniture out of cardboard and empty thread spools. Though only six years separate us, her unconditional love and gentle care makes her a second mom in my eyes. Our friendship has only grown stronger with the years.

My oldest sister Debbie left for college when I was only eight years old. We really didn’t get to know each other until I was older. Deb and I have learned to appreciate and encourage one another through the good times and bad

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especially the bad.

The difficult times in people’s lives tend to affect close relationships in one of two ways: it makes them stronger or rips them to shreds. Thank God the latter has not happened to my family.

As a former Air Force spouse, I’ve been able to make friends from all over the world.

Many don't look, sound, think or act exactly like me (thank goodness!) From my friends I've discovered there’s a great big world out there, with room for more than one point of view.

Friends bring FUN to my life. Listening to my Scottish friend Thelma’s lilting burr helped me develop quite a fetching wee brogue of my own. Mary shared entertaining tales of growing up on Britain’s lovely Isle of Wight. Her wry stories of waitressing in sunny Greece and traveling on board the ‘ship from Hell’ to Egypt (all told in clipped, elegant British tones) never failed to entertain.

I’ve discovered that friends come in all ages, too. My buddy Kellie Rae isn’t out of elementary school yet. Erica is a 16-year-old high school student and Leigh Ann and Susanna are both ‘twenty-somethings’. Priscilla was my high school teacher. Every one of them is someone I am proud and happy to claim as a friend, no matter the difference in our ages.

I delight in the exuberance and high spirits of my young friends and cherish the wisdom of my older ones.

Then again, sometimes the young ones surprise me with their wit and wisdom while the older ones delight me with a display of childlike sense of wonder.

Basically, a friend is like the hot fudge sauce on the sundae of life…it’s incomplete without it.