Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Slice of Life: Friends Old and New

All week I have been singing girl scout songs.
Or actually only one girl scout song.
Make new friends, but keep the old,
one is silver and the other's gold. 

The first weekend in February
is always a silver and gold time for me. 
it's our state reading conference.
A time of rich learning,
professional renewal
but now
as i get closer to the end of my career
also a time
when friends and acquaintances
 from the last 25 years
a million previous worlds-
schools, university teaching, involvement in the state reading association-
collide and intersect…

I finish my after school program responsibiliities at 4:00.
Do a reading test for a a child who is just entering our school
Enlist the aid of three middle school hanger-arounders to unload 25 boxes from the back of my car.
Replace those boxes with two cartons of picture books
and my computer bag
then dash to the airport
to meet one of my dearest, dearest friends.
she is in town for 36 hours
after a way-too-long separation
and I am not going to miss a minute.
JoAnn is not in the car for five minutes
before I remember
how much I have missed her.
No one can celebrate an ordinary moment
A lavender scarf
an upcoming noreaster
a good story
like this
sister of my heart.
 No one can listen more deeply
ask better questions
probe more thoughtfully
than this sister of my heart.
For 24 hours
I gulp and gulp and gulp
drink greedily
at the well of our friendship.
I know that it will be a long time
maybe even years
before I see her again.

Thursday morning
I am trudging across the lobby, lugging my bulging computer bag.
A woman is walking the opposite direction.
We make eye contact, briefly, then again.
"Carol?" she says tentatively. 
We have never met, at least not face-to-face,
but right away, I know who she is.
It is Linda,
a dear friend
and most faithful commenter from the blogosphere.
Although we live in the same town
(actually within ten minutes of each other)
we have never met in person before
one time
we were even in the same room
at an author signing
at Tattered Cover
but we didn't know it
until she posted pictures of an author signing
on her slice the next week.
 Linda has read and commented on a million stories about my boys.
I have admired her
immense courage
as she has moved into a new home,
and begun adjusting to a  life
that she might not have chosen.
 This time
we recognize each other.
We stand and chat in the lobby
Once and then again later
I know there will other times
for deeper, richer conversations,
but it is so fun to
finally meet this
new old friend
face to face.

Make new friends, but keep the old,
one is silver and the other's gold. 
What a rich woman I am. 


elsie said...

I loved this! Your descriptions of the time with your old friend was so spot on. I met up with old friends last weekend and your words fit perfectly with my thoughts. How cool that you "bumped" into Linda! You are a rich woman.

Nanc said...

Thanks for reminding me about such a great old song, and a truth in my life too. Your stories are always such a joy to read. I loved hearing about the new Fancy Nanc book this week. XO nanc

Linda B said...

Carol, thank you for this. I haven't written about you yet, but I will. It was wonderful to finally meet & to find we lived so close to each other. I hope we can get together soon, & sorry I missed you the rest of the conference. It was lots of fun, wasn't it?

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

Oh what a lovely post- from your friend from long ago to your friend from the blogging world, what a fabulous experience to connect and meet and enjoy each others' company! There was such joy in your post, Carol - so wonderful to hear.

shogem said...

What a wonderful tribute to a friendship that is so strong despite the distance.

shogem said...

What a wonderful tribute to a friendship that connects so closely despite the frequency of being together.

Robin said...

What a great story-how lucky to have met Linda! I love the connection to the Girl Scout song as well. Thanks for sharing!

Ramona said...

Carol, I love your phrase sister of the heart! And how fun to recognize and visit with Linda. I feel like I would recognize her too. I always tell my friends that if you're every in my life, you're always in my life. I love staying connected with old friends.

JenniferM said...

I love the flow of this poem -- just like the flow of life. And I'm totally jealous that you got to meet Linda! I love how you included the Girl Scout song at the beginning and end like bookends to your post. It's in my head now!