Celebrating 40 Years!
Hubba Bubba, Happy Meals, leg warmers and Strawberry Shortcake. The Muppet Movie, Alien and Deer Hunter. Who can forget the Walkman, overalls, tube tops and Candies? We watched The Love Boat, The Waltons, M*A*S*H, Happy Days, Charlie’s Angels and Dallas. We listened to Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive, The Village People, the Bee Gees and Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Love them or hate them, they were all the rage in 1979.
In a suburb of Pittsburgh, there was also the start of something big happening. It’s the year I met the person who would become my BFF!
Celebrating The Early Years
I was an “O” and he an “S”. I can’t be certain in which class we met, but I do remember something clicked. He was dripping in sarcasm, impersonations and his own unique sense of humor. I don’t recall a day going by there wasn’t something to smile or laugh about. He was a little bit jock, a little bit nerdy and always fun.
Silliness aside, he also displayed a sensitive, caring side. I still have the first Christmas Card he gave me (yes in 1979). Although tucked away in a storage box, I remember his sweet kindness. Little did I know then where life would take us–together.
High school found us sometimes in different circles but always connected. The college years did separate us for a while but only in location, not in heart.
One night in 1987, we found ourselves (unplanned) at the same bar. It was a Thursday night and the place was just starting to fill with recent college grads who were still in that party mode. Drinks, lots of laughs but most of all a re-connection that planted the seeds to a friendship that will span the decades.
Celebrating Our Twenties & Thirties
In our early twenties, there were bars, bands, drives, hockey games, rent-a-dates, shopping trips, family holiday celebrations and more. Those “Decade” years (probably glad that walls can’t talk) became the building blocks upon which the foundation of our friendship was built. It was then that we realized how much we could discuss (anything and everything) and share (feelings, emotions, fears) with absolutely no judgment. As a side note, yes platonic relationships between the sexes is 100% possible and as I have been lucky to find, especially in the early years, there’s far less drama!
Then came the significant others, marriages for each of us followed soon by children. Again, we had experienced some distance physically, but always just a phone call away.
Fast forward a bit to divorces, losses of family members and dear friends. The one constant was our friendship. We didn’t always agree (and still don’t) but we have respect, honesty (which is sometimes harsh), and a lasting commitment to making our relationship the best it can be.
Thirties and Forties-The Celebrating Continues
We are blessed to have the kind of friendship that doesn’t shy away from the hard stuff: divorce, anxiety, anger, grief, depression, raising children, exes, breakups, job losses and the myriad of other cards that we are dealt.
There was (and still is) an open door (or calls or texts at any hour) policy. There were many nights we did nothing more than sit in the same room. No words exchanged, just being present if and when needed. I can’t leave out that this man took a day off and went to the hospital with me when labor was being induced. When it was determined a C-section would be needed, he didn’t hesitate and went into the operating room with me (P & P will forever be our inside joke). This is the love of a true friend. We know that no matter, no matter when, we are never alone.
Life can be busy, but we always had time for the once a week phone call on our commutes to work. He was a willing handy man for this single mom and he was there help with a move (more like two or three). Yes, he let me know that I should never move again and to find some younger guy next time. Well, I can’t guarantee that, but I know I will have a strong man in a supervisory role!
He remarried and his wife is positively lovely. She has supported our friendship from day one and we all spend some fantastic times together. I am grateful and blessed!
Fifties and Beyond
We are now each entering our 54th rotation around the sun. I certainly have no idea where the life journey will take us; we each have our own paths to walk. The one thing I do know is that our paths will always cross at some point and we will walk together when needed. We may have a lot to discuss or no words may be necessary. Our souls are connected and speak in ways words don’t do justice.
In your own life, I hope you have found The Gentle Pull of Souls.
I came upon a post by Elizabeth Gilbert not too long ago. Other than adding our names, these are her words. They describe a true heart and soul BFF friendship in the best way:
“There’s something specifically touching about deep & long friendships.The reason that friendship is so piercingly beautiful is because it’s so voluntary, so organic. In a way, I think friendship is the most natural expression of human love. We never make holy vows & contracts and solemn legal arrangements with our friends. When Al & I met 40 years ago, we did not gaze into each other’s eyes and say: ‘I promise to take care of you in sickness and health.’ Yet, here we are, continuously caring for and about one another.
My friend and I don’t belong to each other by blood, marriage, law or ceremony. We owe each other nothing. Yet we DO take care of each other in sickness and health, good and bad. Till death do we part, apparently—because we love each other. We just do. We never even had to think about it; it wasn’t even a decision. The heart just knew.”
Celebrating 40 Years! On this final day of 2019, I look back fondly on the past 40 years and excitedly await what comes to be in our next 40. I hope you have found Your Person and may they bless your life as much as mine has. I leave you with our song (oddly enough, from 1979)! Have a Happy, Healthy & Blessed New Year and decade!
I do not own the copyright to this song. Uploaded to YouTube by Music Video Distributors Inc. from the Down The Road Apiece album released 1-27-2009. Originally produced by MCA Records in 1979. Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers.