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Friendships are worth investing in
The other day, as I was looking through some of my grandmother’s old photos and papers, I came across a newspaper clipping that made me smile, but it also made me sad.
The clipping was a picture of my grandma and two of her best friends with a caption that read "The Birthday Gals Celebrate 20 Years!" Grandma and her friends had been celebrating their birthdays together faithfully for the past 20 years.
Wow, that’s pretty impressive. The editor of the local paper must have thought so too. To think that a group of ladies could sustain a bond of friendship that stood the test of time really made me think. (And I happen to know the tradition continued for another 20 years after that newspaper article was written!)
It made me think about myself and my own friends. Sure, I have friends that I have stayed in touch with for many 25 years, but I have to admit I haven’t put in the amount of time and effort my grandma did. Three or four phone calls a year would hardly be considered a valiant effort.
Thinking back about my grandma and her friends, I realized that even as a young child, I knew her friends by name and thought of them and their families as friends. Obviously, if I felt that familiar with them, Grandma was doing considerably more than just a seasonal phone call. I remember times when a friend was under the weather and Grandma would whip up some homemade recipe and drive right over to deliver it. If Grandma wanted to go out to see a play, she would call to invite the friends. If she was in the neighbourhood, Grandma would stop in, just to say hello.
While thinking of all the little things my grandma and her friends would do with and for each other, I couldn’t help but feel woefully inadequate. But wait a minute: Grandma was a housewife, while I work full time. OK, so maybe I should cut myself a little bit of slack considering I have less available time, but is that really an excuse?
After some thought, I decided that many a modern woman would say that working full time is definitely a legitimate reason to slack off a little. In fact, many women I have spoken to about this say that often after working all day, they really just want to flop down on the couch, and they cross their fingers that the phone doesn’t ring. But, these same women also admitted that they did feel lonely and lack a connection with friends.
OK, so I have to be realistic and admit that I will not often have the time to whip up some delightful dish to deliver to a sick friend, but, these days most people have their freezers and cupboards full of all kinds of nearly instant foods anyway. It is not the actual food they need, but the acknowledgement of care and friendship. A flower delivery, or even just a thoughtful handwritten card might be just what she needs to know she has a friend who is thinking about her. It would be well worth the time and effort.
Camille Meub is a La Salle-based writer.
Neighbourhood Forum is a readers’ column. If you live in The Headliner area and would like to contribute to this column, contact email@example.com.
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