jayellebee's Blog

May 27, 2012


Filed under: Musings — Joanne @ 10:02 pm

I entered the lecture hall, determined that quarter I would make a friend, and scanned the tiered rows of theater-style seating for a likely candidate.  Most of my fellow students, separated by vacant seats,  buried themselves in the daily campus newspaper, but one pair of eyes met mine.  I smiled and settled in next to their owner.

“Hi,” I said.  We filled the few minutes prior to the professor’s arrival with small talk.

At the end of class, my new acquaintance leaned over and kissed my cheek before leaving.  Not the kind of friend I had in mind.  Not even at the height of the “free love” craze running amok at UC Berkeley in the 60s.

Lesson #1:  Friendship cannot be forced.

The February 20, 2012 issue of Time magazine ran a fascinating cover story about animals and friendship.  You may have seen the video which made the email rounds recently featuring a sighted horse who guided its blind companion around their pasture.  Click on this link to watch the story of an elephant and a dog who are inseparable:


My favorite canine, Shadow, has a paw-ful of close friends.  She always greets some, like big ol’ lovable Henderson, with enthusiasm.  Toys and treats are shared, beds and bowls traded.  They are comfortable together.

Meike, my grand-dog who lives in Seattle, is probably Shadow’s all-time favorite pal.  I can’t help but wonder what goes through their little doggie noggins when they jump out of a car and – surprise – there stands the other.  They’ve connected in various locations in California, Nevada and Washington.

“Whoa,” I imagine they think, “I didn’t expect to find YOU here!”

The girls play tug, growling as if to prove each is the stronger, and then nap sharing a spot in the sun.  They take walks shoulder-to-shoulder even though their separate leashes allow for divergent paths.  Having different dining schedules, they take turns waiting at a discreet distance while kibble is consumed.

Lesson #2:  Some friendships are based on common interests and respect.

I met Carol the week before Ken’s and my wedding.  She was the school secretary where I taught first grade.  Linda and her husband were among Ken’s first patients when he finished dental school.  Our first homes were in the same housing development.

Between us, Carol, Linda and I have eight “children” in their thirties.  We moms grew up together while raising our broods.  We shared concerns and laughs, vacations and the daily drudge, babies and aging parents.  Each of us knows the names of the others’ siblings as well as the ebb and flow of those relationships.  Our secrets have often been shared, but never betrayed.

Carol did the unthinkable and retired to Florida.  I’ve rarely seen herin the past eleven years.  Linda and I now live a short drive – not a short walk – apart.  Carol made a quick trip to California to help her daughter a few weeks ago and we seized the opportunity to converge on a restaurant mid-way between the Bay Area and the foothills.

Conversation came easily, as if days had passed since we’d been together, not years.  Motherly catching-up revealed what “the kids” were doing.  Womanly teasing tumbled around the table with the gentle spirit intended.  Friendly hugs, tears and smiles overwhelmed.  Hours escaped.  Good-byes came way too soon.

Lesson #3:  Friendships built on shared life experiences withstand the passage of time.

I’m beginning to understand why Grandma always referred to her lady-friends as girls.  In their hearts, they never grew old, they just stopped growling and spent more time napping in the warm sun.



  1. Smooch, smooch my dear! Here’s to long-lasting friendships. (And no kisses from acquaintances please . . . unless they are the four-pawed kinds . . .)

    Comment by lizbooks — May 28, 2012 @ 10:14 am | Reply

  2. How about hugs??

    Nicely done, Joanne. And so true! My grand dog in Portland knows I visit bearing treats, and I’ve known two dear friends since kindergarten. I love your ending, tying the dog metaphor to older “girls”. Think I’ll go curl up in the garden.


    Comment by Ann Damaschino — May 30, 2012 @ 9:09 am | Reply

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