The Value Of A Friend

Patty and I have been friends since 6th grade. So that would be about 60 years — yes, that’s right, 60 years!!! Unbelievable!!!

Our relationship has survived marriages, divorces, births, deaths and many childhood traumas — our own and those of our children and grandchildren. We have shared secrets, loves, break-ups, goals, dreams, hopes, and disappointments. We have cried, laughed, joked, prayed and sat quietly together many, many times.

I can’t remember us ever having an argument even though we don’t always agree. We live within an hour of each other, belong to the same quilting guild, have lunch often and our families go camping together every year. We couldn’t be any closer.

Patty is truly my oldest (even though I’m 4 months older!) and dearest friend. She knows me completely and loves me anyway. Our conversation picks up where it left off every time we see each other. We laugh easily at each other’s foibles and can correct each other comfortably. We reminisce often. She is a walking history of my life.

This long term, life friendship is a treasure. Nothing can replace the amount of time invested in our mutual admiration society. Few people get the privilege of this kind of relationship in their lives.

Kelly, I’ve known maybe 20 years. She worked with my husband and that’s how we met. We too share the love of quilting.

Kelly is an Engineer and is very organized. She gives me good advice and has a logical reason for doing everything. She is the most wonderful, attentive daughter to her mother.

She has taught me so much about loyalty, duty, good manners and thoughtfulness. There are not enough people like Kelly in the world. She may be years younger than me but she is years wiser.

Mary and I have very little in common, except our love of quilting. I consider her my friend and yet we are at odds most of the time. Our conversations are sometimes limited and sometimes heated.

I admire a great deal about Mary, while some of her characteristics are annoying. She is loud. She is quick tempered. She is rash. She is passionate. She is loyal. She is giving.

I value our relationship even though I struggle with it. I love her but I don’t always like her. In the end she is a true friend to me. She keeps me honest. She challenges my beliefs and my statements. She makes me think and question the truth of everything. She keeps me from being apathetic.

Mary makes me a better person.

Kelly makes me a better person.

Patty makes me a better person.

What more can you ask of a friend?

 

Questions I Wish I Had Asked My Parents

In this year of celebrating the 75th Anniversary of D-Day and remembering all the years in our past, I have been thinking a lot about my parents. They have both passed on now and I have so many questions I wish I had asked them while they were still able to give me the answers.

My parents knew each other their whole lives. They were born in the same town four days apart. My mom was the youngest of all girls and my dad the youngest of all boys. My two grandmothers were in the hospital together and joked about how they should trade babies so they would have a different-sex child in the family.

And those two babies grew up and got married (I always thought that was a great premise for a movie). So where are all the stories of growing up together? Going to school together? Seeing each other around town? Knowing each other forever? I wish I had asked.

And I don’t know exactly how they got married. They didn’t date in High School, so it must have happened during WWII. I wish I had asked how my dad proposed and how they planned the wedding. Did they have a honeymoon? What did they wear? How did they know they were right for each other? I wish I had asked.

I wish I had asked what prompted them both to enter the service. My dad tried to enlist and found out he was color-blind, which meant he could only go into the Navy Seabees – Construction Battalion. My mother, believe it or not, was a Marine. I think she enlisted because of her sister Irene, who also joined the Marines. But why the Marines? I wish I had asked,

I wish I had asked them how they felt about the war. Were they ever afraid, confused, proud, ashamed or conflicted as an American? Were they glad to be in the Military? Sorry they joined? I wish I had asked.

I wish I had asked them how things were after the war. They were married and started having children right away. My dad was in college on the GI Bill. I think they were living in a mobile home park. Sounds like an “I Love Lucy” segment, doesn’t it? That couldn’t have been easy. But how did they manage? Was being a veteran a proud thing? How did they feel? I wish I had asked.

I wish I had asked them about their thoughts of early parenthood. My mother had three children in three years while my dad was going to school. And she had no family nearby. But I never heard the stories. Were they too horrible? Just forgettable? What? I wish I had asked.

How I wish I could sit down with both of them and ask these and other questions. When I had the chance, I didn’t think of it or it didn’t seem necessary. Now that it’s too late, I’m thinking of so many things only they can answer.

My advice to others – ask the questions NOW!! Don’t wait!! And if you are the elder in your family, write down all the stories for the younger ones. Don’t wait to be asked. Don’t wait until someone else thinks of it. Don’t wait for the perfect time. Just don’t wait. Do it NOW. Because then it will be too late and they will say – I wish I had asked.

Forty Thank Yous

All the forty days of Lent I have been trying to stay in an attitude of gratitude by writing a thank you note to someone each day. It started out easy with all the people closest to me getting a thank you.

I was mindful of all the love and care I was getting, aware of the close friendship and daily reminded of the loyalty and patience of each dear one I was writing to. At first I was being reminded of the kindness of people I had known for years. The names and memories were there at the tip of the pen every day. I thought this is going to be so easy.

But now I’m getting to the people I don’t know as well or don’t know at all, who have done me a kindness. This is certainly harder and more inconvenient. I think I’m finally getting to the real lesson I’m supposed to be learning in this Lenten season.

I’m supposed to see gratitude everywhere and in everything, not just the simple, easy and convenient things. Even when things go wrong, there is a lesson to be learned, for which I can be grateful.

And all the people in my life are there for a reason, a good reason. For that, I am also very thankful.

And so today, my sweeties, is your day!!!

Thank you so much for just being you, for reading my blog, for leaving comments, for sharing it with others.

Thank you for your loyalty, your patience, your humor, your common sense.

Thank you for all the kind words you have sent to me and about me.

Thank you for being the best readers ever!!!!!!!

 

The Big And The Small

Well, Quilt Retreat has come and gone again for another year. How does this keep happening so fast? It must be my age. Everything is passing by more rapidly. I remember my grandmother telling me time would speed up as I got older. She sure was right!!

And how wonderful Retreat was! Every Retreat has its own sense about it, its own personality. This Retreat was no different. The combination of the time, the weather, the people, their concerns and the quilts made this Retreat a completely unique, one of a kind, never to be experienced again occasion.

There were big laughs, big meals, big hugs, big reveals, big quilts, big moments, big lessons and big sleeps. All this combined with small giggles, small snacks, small touches, small peeks, small quilts, small moments, small ideas and small cat naps made for the most perfect of all Retreats. The best combination of the large group shared events and the little one-on-one moments are the most to be treasured.

I think the quilts on the design walls reflect our big and small moments the best for this year. Here are some in the big category.

And now for some of the small quilts. Be mindful  that most of them are small because they are not finished yet. And, after all, isn’t that the greatest characteristic  of the small things in the world – their potential? 

And on that sweet note, I say goodbye.