JOY --- Jesus On the JourneY

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Forever Friend

Today is my friend Charlene's birthday.
She's not just any friend.
She's my forever friend.

You see, I've known her as long as I have a memory.
Our friendship goes back 57 years because
my parents moved next door to her family when I was two.

Charlene and I are in the back row.

We used to get the same Christmas presents
due to our mother's planning --
I wonder if that was so there wouldn't
be any fighting when we played together.

We used to play "show" on each other's front
porches wrapped in our faux mink stoles and
plastic high heels, mimicking something we saw on
the Ed Sullivan Show the night before.

We baked cookies in each other's kitchen
played back and forth between the two
houses,and helped each other with chores
so the other could come out to play sooner.

There was a time when our brothers excluded us
from their adventures, and we tried to dig our own
swimming pool since we were banned from their secret
hide out.

Her family goes back 150+ years in that little town and she
has helped to preserve the same family tradition of
dedication and hard work to her community, leading
4-H there for 23+ years.
This summer she is helping to host an old-fashioned picnic for the Lutheran
church's 150th anniversary.

I moved away after high school and she married and moved
back home aross the road from my parents and her's.

During all those years of my parent's confinement with poor health
she cooked food, brought her husband to help and came running whenever
they had a need, and she raised her children to be helpful and attentive
to them. She became like my parent's second daughter.

Charlene is in the middle

She's nursed her parents and mother-in-law through
their own illnesses and is the backbone of her family --
a loving wife, supportive Mom,
and doting grandmother.

She knows my history better than anyone else and STILL loves me.

I can let too much time pass and she still answers my calls
with the same enthusiasm and warmth.

When I call with a problem she always considers my best.
She's the first to be excited over any success I may have.

Charlene is the one I use as an example in my life skill's classes
when I talk about faithfulness and loyalty in relationships.

She has kept our relationship strong all these years. She NEVER
forgets a special day of mine.

When I go back to my hometown of Moro I step back
in to all the wonderful memories of our time growing up
together and we pick up where we left off from
our last phone call.

Charlene, 1 Cor. 13 describes the love you give to all of us,
LOVE is (You Are) patient, kind, not self-seeking,
. . . always protect, always trusts, always
hopes, always perserveres.

I can't be there today, Charlene, but
I want to wish you the best of birthdays.

You are the wind beneath all our wings.

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