A true friend doesn’t care when you’re broke, being a bitch, what you weigh, if your house is a mess, what you drive, about your past, or if your family is filled with crazy people. Your conversations pick up where they left off, even if it has been months (or years apart). They love you for who you are.
I remember the day we met. You in your jeans and t-shirt, me in my frilly green dress eating a fudgesicle that was dripping down the front of me. You still asked me if I wanted to come out and play. You could have made a run for it, but you didn’t. You were curious by nature.
I remember your eyes rolling in the back of your head when I asked if you wanted to play Barbies. It was clear to me from that day on, no dolls for you, still, you accepted me without judgment. You always managed to find a balance for us. Like the time you let me hang curtains in our hollow tree fort. I remember Hurricane Frieda in 1962 and how in the morning you and I went to check on our hollow tree to make sure it was still standing. It was, and we were both relieved. We cleared the area around it like true pioneers and you smiled when you saw me put the curtains back in place. You were always tolerant.
I remember the woods, the pond, and the grassy hill that was really nothing but sand. I remember how you introduced me to things in nature I would have otherwise totally missed out on. You were fearless when it came to handling baby snakes, frogs and stick bugs. You taught me to be gentle with them and to put them back where we found them when we were done playing. To this day, when I’m anywhere near a forest it brings back those deep-rooted memories. You were so brave in my eyes.
I remember we called each other Mar. It became our sisterhood and it just made perfect sense to us both. I remember all of our secrets that remain secrets to this day. If we asked one another to say the word, “honestly”, the only answer that could come from our lips was the truth. You were always truthful and trustworthy.
I remember many sleep over’s at your house playing what we called, china animals, the porcelain figurines that came from Red Rose Tea. I remember you’d eat cookies for breakfast and your mom would make me an egg because I didn’t like cookies for breakfast. I remember letting your cat and dogs out of the kitchen one night while everyone else was asleep. I had been sleepwalking. You still invited me back for many more sleepovers. You were kind.
I remember being invited for Sunday dinner, even though you knew I had just finished my own an hour earlier. I remember your mom’s garden fresh green beans and the brown paper bag fries your dad salted and shook as we sat salivating, waiting for our portion. I remember roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and the best iced chocolate cake ever to this day. You were so very thoughtful.
I remember how you tolerated my love for Elvis Presley, although I still believe you secretly loved him too. I remember my parents taking us to the drive-in theatre in my dad’s 1964 Ford Mercury, the first of its kind with power windows, even in the rear. We’d sit out that window, legs dangling over the back seat, elbows resting on the roof with chins in our hands, watching Elvis swaying and crooning to some woman. My eyes would be all glazed over and you’d have to shake me silly to bring me out of my trance. I remember you saying: “Ewe, could you imagine some boy singing to you all the time, nobody does that in real life?” I didn’t answer. You knew that I was imagining and that was okay with you. I remember when Elvis got married and naturally I didn’t like his wife so you called her ‘Prissy Presley’( aka Priscilla), just for me. You had my back and you were always witty.
I remember when you got your pet lizard. You wanted me to hold it but I wanted nothing to do with it. I had already played with too many baby snakes, frogs and stick bugs than I cared to remember. You gently placed it in my hand and said; “See, it’s okay.” And it was okay until the slimy thing moved, which I wasn’t expecting so I screamed and threw it across the room like a Frisbee. I think your mom found it under the couch about a week later, all dried up. I remember you forgave me. You were forever forgiving.
I remember Canim Lake. You could have chosen anyone to go but you chose me, eight years in a row! Three weeks at the lake each summer, we grew from children to adolescent girls, keeping secrets, giggling about boys, reading magazines, water skiing in doubles, fishing, horse back riding, spying on your older sister and occasionally trying to escape your younger sister, who was always shouting after us: “Wait for me!” I wonder if you knew that those summers were and always will remain the highlight of my childhood memories. Something tells me, of course you knew. You were such a loyal friend.
I remember discos in the 70’s, sharing details of bad dates, a girl’s get away to Victoria and way too much Asti Spumante, not to mention your never ending support when my life seemed to turn upside down. You were always supportive.
I remember that as we grew older our lives seemed destined to go in different directions, yet we always picked up where we left off whenever we had the opportunity to call one another. I remember your wedding day and the day you called from the hospital when each of your children were born, your pride becoming a grandmother, and so, so much more. You were the most genuine of friends.
More recently, I remember you at my retirement celebration. You called the next day to thank me and to tell me that it was such an honour to have been a part of it. Just thinking about it takes my breath away. You were always so very gracious.
I write this in memory of you and of all that I remember about our very authentic friendship. Just so you know,
the honour was all mine, honestly.
Love always and forever grateful,