Originally published 11/1/2010
I recently dispensed the following advice: A true friend is not going to waste time chastising you for not returning phone calls, or not making time for her. A true friend is happy to see or hear from you no matter how much time or distance passes between you.
I’m patting myself on the back now because that’s pretty darn good advice. It is a bona fide pearl of wisdom confirmed the most wonderful gift my husband and I received recently: a visit from a dear college friend. Until last Friday night, we’d seen him only twice since graduating from college more than 26 years ago. We didn’t waste time scolding each other for losing touch over the years. We were all just plain happy to see each other. Within minutes, it was as if only yesterday that we were ambling our way across the cobblestones of Old Campus, scurrying to class or making pitstops at Durfee Sweet Shop to buy a quarter’s worth of butter mints.
It was wonderful to reminisce about our good old college days but in truth, it was much more fun catching up on all the life events that had happened between then and now. Happy things like weddings, births of children, and travels, as well as sad things like the passing of mutual friends. Among the things I am flattered to have discovered about my friend is that he has become a faithful follower of Just Another Ordinary Day.
“So, Ant, tell me how do you come up with your topics? You put up an article everyday. It seems like a lot.”
“I keep telling her she needs to post once a week,” my husband Pat chimed in before I could answer.
“I don’t know how I come up with ideas for essays. They just pop into my head.”
“You’re going to run out of ideas.” Pat thinks I’m going to burn out. “I mean take a look at some of these newspaper columnists and editorial people. They publish pieces weekly.”
“Pat’s right. I may run out of ideas, but for now I have a pretty long list of topics and a file filled with works in progress. For now I’m going to post daily.”
My friend asked, “When do you write? Your pieces are sometimes pretty long. “
“I write early in the morning. I’ve been trying to get up around 5 or 5:30, but I’m really composing in my head all day long. I carry a little spiral notebook around with me so I can jot down notes and ideas. I guess I’m really working all the time.”
“You have two different things going on, right? Today was your advice column, which by the way, you hit it right on the head.”
“Thanks. Yes there are two different things going on. Monday through Thursday I post what I call my daily blog column, Just Another Ordinary Day. My inspiration for these essays comes from my observations of the little, often overlooked things that we all experience during the course of ordinary, everyday life.”
“And what about the advice column, that’s just once a week?”
“Right, I post Ask Ant Advice once on Fridays. So I take the weekends off, but am usually still writing. You know, trying to get ahead.”
“ Okay then, I’m going to give you a challenge. Let’s see if you can write something about all of us getting together. You know, true friends and all, just like the advice you gave that woman with the annoying friend today. Let’s see what you can come up with.”
“Absolutely. You just may see your name in print next week!”
“No, no, no. You’ve got to keep my name out of it.”
He always was a little on the shy, quiet side. In order to honor his request to remain anonymous, I will call my friend “Dr. T.” since he is a very successful urologist. In fact, when I called him last week to confirm our plans, he answered his cell phone on the first ring with a quick, “Let me call you back. I’m with a patient.” Click. I’m used to that since I am married to a doctor…darn sick people…always impeding my social life.
Anyway, Dr. T was in the middle of a routine prostate exam when I called. (If you have any idea of the access point through which a urologist conducts a routine examination of the prostate gland, you will know why I never, ever, under any circumstances will ask to borrow Dr. T’s cell phone.) We made our plans to meet for dinner and Dr. T asked if he could have his wife call me for some tips on visiting Atlanta with kids. Oh my gosh! Are you kidding me? Of course she can. I was looking forward to meeting “Nick” (inside joke) the woman who finally captured his heart.
Back in college, Dr. T was one of those guys considered a “real catch.” (I’m quite sure he is blushing as he reads this.) He was a good looking, kind, smart, headed-for-medical-school guy who had everything except a college sweetheart. So of course, we coeds (especially those of us with sweethearts of our own) incessantly conspired among ourselves to find him the perfect girl.
What we didn’t know at the time, was that our lack of success had nothing to do with our efforts, and everything to do with his attitude. Dr. T was not as oblivious to these matters as he appeared. On the contrary, Dr. T knew precisely what he was after and would waste no time on any girl who did not meet his qualifications. He managed to find Nick, the woman of his dreams all on his own, and married her almost ten years ago.
Dr. T and Nick have two daughters. The oldest is seven years old. She is the adorable spitting image of her mom, with the same outgoing personality and is not afraid to talk! Their younger daughter is five years old and is as much her dad’s image as big sister is her mom’s. She smiles non-stop and carries herself with a quiet, humble demeanor, which is something I remember about Dr. T from years gone by. Like her dad she is all sweetness until you catch the glimpse of a fleeting twinkle in her eyes that hints at a mischievous streak just waiting to emerge from behind her cherubic face. I think I will have to call her Mini T from now on.
I can’t decide if it was more fun to see my old friend or to meet his wife and their daughters for the first time. It’s like the lyrics to that song Make new friends, and keep the old. One is sliver and the other’s gold. I never could tell which was which…old gold and new silver or vice-versa. I suppose it really doesn’t matter. They are both precious so long as they are true blue.
A true friend is happy to see or hear from you no matter how much time or distance passes between you. Today’s post is dedicated to my new friends, Nick, Big Sis, and Mini T; and of course to my dear old friend, Dr. T. I hope it lives up to your challenge. Silver and gold.
P.S. I am blessed with true blue friends. You know who you are, and while Thanksgiving is still close to a month away, it seems fitting on the occasion of today’s post to say thank you. Thanks for respecting that I choose to be consumed by my role as wife and mother. Thanks for understanding that, more often than not, this means in spite of my promises to be better, I will fail to keep in touch with you the way a friend should. Most of all thanks for greeting me with a joyful tone in your voice, a smile, and an, “It’s so wonderful to see you!” no matter how long it’s been. I love you all, silver and gold.