10 June 2014

Friends of All Ages

When I first got to college, I grudgingly wandered over to the welcome back bash.  Introverted, but forcing myself into the circle of booths and cacophony of ridiculously loud music, I passed by all the clubs and stopped at only one booth:  Adopt a Grandparent.

I put my name down, perhaps because I knew the girl behind the booth in academy and didn't know how to say no, and perhaps because I've always liked grandparents, whether they're mine or not.

The following weekend, when the time came for the Adopt a Grandparent club's organizational meeting (the one where I would be dropped off at a grandparent's house and left there for an hour or so, never having met them before), I had decided not to go.  But that list?  Where I had written my name?

I had also written my dorm room phone number.  {We didn't have cell phones in college in those days, you know.}

She called.  And so it seemed I couldn't get out of it.  Of course, once I was in their living room, the one with all the books and paintings and rocks and minerals and people who loved me right away, eating home-made cookies and listening to stories of their lives, I was right at home.

I visited them several times a month for the next nine years.

I suppose I was there to bless them, and maybe I did, but I can't begin to put words to the ways THEY blessed my life.  There's just something about people who have lived well for a long time that tethers me, reminds me what's important.

During the last year and a half of college, I wound up in a little country church on a whim one Sabbath and found myself there almost every weekend for the next five years.  

Of all the things that delighted me there, the wide age range of my church family was near the top of my list.  I loved being able to tell people that I had friends all the way from three years old (the youngest ones in the Sabbath school class where I played the piano) to above 90.

That one older than 90, she's still such a special lady (99 now, I think).  This teapot used to be hers, and I think of her often, the newlywed for the first time at 90, who loved to sing hymns and laugh and make sure our church facility stayed coordinated and classy and well-maintained. 

She's well educated, from an era where many women were not.  She held herself and those around her to a high standard of values.  In her, I found someone who could resonate with my own desire for excellence of character in all things.

I joked sometimes that I was born old, but if that meant being like these friends of mine who were still learning all the time and who had vibrant lives in every way imaginable, I was glad enough to be "old".  

Or was it that they were still young?

A few years and a few states have gone by since my life and friendships were so richly infused with the span of ages, but here in our new location the span is beginning to widen again.

Yesterday, I sat on the couch reading a good book.  Something inside it made me think of my new sweet friend across the street, who is several decades my senior.  She and her daughter are just the kind of people who can sit down in the living room and really get to know a person, and the thought of them made me get up from the couch and walk across the street.  We visited pleasantly for too short a time.

My eyes widen and my ears perk up when I hear her say how long she has lived in this valley we now call home.  I know she will have a lot to tell me about this new climate of mine, the local history, what kind of bugs come out when, and how to grow those purple-leaved flowers I've seen in her yard.

She insists I pick lemons from her tree whenever I want, and I timidly take her up on the offer before I walk home again, heart happy for the new friendships and one huge lemon more than filling each hand.


  1. Another jewel for your pathway.

  2. I have been wanting to grow a lemon tree- but wondering if they need special conditions to grow well. That is cool that you have a neighbor that has a lemon tree and willing to share- what a blessing! God bless~ Lisa :O)

  3. love the idea of being tethered. and your ending image. good sigh. B

  4. Aww, such sweet stories! And what awesome photos, how did you do it? Is that a tablecloth behind it? I love it too! (I love navy blue (or dark blue, don't know if it's precisely navy), even though now it's no longer part of my home decor palette, it used to be!)


Greetings, fellow climbers! Leave your marks on the steps--I'll be delighted to hear from you.