Thursday, June 8, 2017

Taking Time for Visits with Friends

Down home bests: clucking hens and visits with dear friends.
Next to new love in its ability to lift the soul, is a visit with an old and dear friend. There is nothing so sweet as being around someone pleasant and confirming, someone that I love and that loves me back. The warmth of friendship is a soothing balm in these rough waters of life! We are all at least a bit scarred by the ravages of time, but no matter what real friends are there for us through the thick and thin of it all.

It shocks me as I realize, however, that others age just like me, as I am guilty of thinking I am the only one! The adage "What? you too?" is a comforting one.  I really do belong to the same world as everyone else! Such visits with friends confirm that my family and I are not alone in our struggles after all!

My tongue doesn't stop wagging while together with real friends, though I need not worry about the silent pauses either, for we are together and that is enough! My friends are like a ray of spring sunshine, thawing the chill of a late winter day, no matter that our Vermont weather has fewer sunshiny days than other places! We sit together in our houses, their's or mine and look out at the Vermont country-side and the walls that surround us no longer close us in!
Vermont country is beautiful, no matter what season.

Growing older isn't so bad when one is able to experience a uniting of hearts! We listen to each other's concerns regarding the current negative and divisive political world, and appreciate each other's pains and joys as we talk with one another about our life. Sharing the worries we carry about those we love lightens our loads. Friends of friends need a circle of love surrounding them too, so as to not be destroyed by the trials that life brings and we know that we will lift them all in our personal prayers.

On my way out my friend's door, I realized I forgot my cane and she pointed to her own standing ready by the door among her collection of walking sticks from relatives who have passed and no longer need them. "I carry one with me now when I walk these country roads to ward off unfriendly dogs or bees." I knew she was referring to a pet goat that got loose one day and really did attack her and her friend, ramming them with its horns. Both escaped serious injury when they jumped into a nearby parked car. This world, sadly is not always so warm and friendly. Our innocence is not what it used to be!

Special times carved out to spend with friends enable us to push away any gloomy clouds and find warmth and safety in each other's company. I know each friend's heart and they know mine. Wisdom comes with our maturity and our special oases of friendship brighten our days, no matter how seldom we take time for such pleasure.

I remember a piece I wrote 25 years ago when we were living on an old three-hundred acre farm in Orwell, Vermont.  We loved it there, but we also sometimes felt very isolated and visits with friends, I learned then weren't insignificant. The following is a piece I wrote about a heartwarming visit with a friend in 1992! Much has changed but much remains the same.

For Janice 

I had a visit with my friend..
She called one day and had me come with kids and handwork all.
And while the children played and swam, we talked on and on and on.
We talked of kings and queens and presidents,
Of war and crooks and fairs,
Of knitting machines, sick cows and other small town news,
Of a special celery recipe that no one ate,
And relatives that no one liked.
We even talked of healing prayers,
And politics and the spread of evil in this world.
She iced a cake, peeled and sliced carrots and finished making dinner.
I did my handwork, viewed her quilt and drank the rest of my iced tea.
Then I packed my things and called my kids.
As I said goodbye, she pulled some celery from her garden and stuffed it in a bag,
Then carried it with some other things and walked me to my car.
So simple was our pleasure as to seem common,
But it wasn't just an ordinary day, 
I had a visit with my friend. 
1992- Jane McMillen

 A visit with a friend isn't so fancy, but equally as sustaining as a high tea!

Pictures by Tom McMillen.