Mark Twain penned a story about Tom and Huck and their crazy rafting adventures as runaways on the Mississippi River. Barefoot and happy, they were. I know it. I feel the dusty roads on my shoeless feet, smell the mossy riverbank, hear the swish of the fat-headed bristle brush slapping whitewash on the picket fence. It sounds like summer.
Do you remember days like that, when Time ran free? The summer’s air floated light and comforting, and friendships lingered long.
Dear Lord, I hope so.
My friends and I were an inseparable threesome or foursome, depending upon the year. We ran in a pack, like frolicking puppies, from house to house; from the pool to the beach to the movie theater to the clubhouse Stacy and her dad built in her backyard.
Running, running, running, and not thinking much about time unless we were frantically finishing chores to get to the Saturday double-feature matinee.
My friends and I had important things to talk about, too. And weighty decisions to make, like who’s read more Nancy Drew books and who wants to trade Archie comic books and whose horse should we pile onto to ride to 7-11 to buy Slurpees? The Big Things.
It’s a summery Saturday morning. I’m thinking about friendships and relationships as I organize time in my head to arrive on time to a backyard high school graduation barbecue. I expect to know a handful of people at the party. Truthfully, I don’t know them at all. I don’t call them friends. They’re acquaintances. I hope we’ll work at our conversations, search for something in common to talk about while we scoot our deck chairs toward the shade. That is how I imagine it. I wish it could be as simple as hanging out to trade Nancy Drew mystery books. Do you remember lingering summertime friendships?
I recognize the flavors of friendships in my adult life are wildly different from those in my youth. Is it time, space, and responsibility that change the way of friendships? Or do we grow up, mature, get responsible, fill our days, do our hair, and check our mail?
I wonder what gets lost?
At this moment, what I want to do most is grab my backpack, hop into my Jeep, and head upcountry to visit the mountain lakes and streams that are bursting from the melting snow. I want to take off my shoes. I want to search for trout and catch wildflowers with my camera phone. Saturdays like this don’t come around as often as they used to. Saturdays like this are for sharing adventures with friends.
Friendships are different in adult years. They’re weighted in responsibility and marked with scrapes and bruises acquired in the decades-long journey. We speak through our masks and guard our pain.
I no longer huddle with my pack of pals or move in one direction with the herd. Instead, I travel light and go whenever the opportunity arises. I still share books with my book friends and trade ministry experiences with my ministry friends, and enjoy a spectacular roast with my coffee friends and talk about the weather–for real, with my gardening friends. And pray with my praying friends. I thank God, the greatest friend of all, for His way of friendship.
From across the room, I see the clock. The barbecue starts in 45 minutes. It’s time to go.
Many thanks to a few of my friends who have joined me this month in celebrating the gift of friendship. None of them have I met in person, but their words welcomed me. You can find their words on their blogs by clicking on their names. Annie, Cindy, Linda and Sally.
Sally Olson is a WAHM and recently retired homeschool mom who blogs creating a nourishing life at home and writing. She thrives on connecting with women of God and hiking the high country streams in the summer with her family to fish for trout.
You can find Sally’s blog here.