friendsby: Chrysa Smith

When I do writing workshops with elementary school students, my assignment to them is to write about their best friend. I’ve gotten some sad responses, like ‘I don’t have a best friend’ or ‘my dog is my best friend’ to the joyous ones: ‘What if I have more than one?’ And it all got me to thinking about friendship.

What better time in the year to celebrate our friends? Old and new, the phenomenon of friendship is interesting, as I found out from simply discussing it with some fourth graders. When I ask what makes that person their best friend, it is often a stumbling block. Sure, you can tell me what you do together, when you met, what they look like—but stop and think why? and it’s often a mystery.

So it was interesting to me that several weeks back I received an email from an old friend from high school. We were thick as thieves back then, but marriage and family (well, for me), distance and divergent paths led us in different directions. She had written many times, asking me to meet in NYC, where we grew up, but I could just never seem to pin her down when it came to finalizing a date. That is, until she had a business trip in Philadelphia.

Long story short, we met. While she was now blond and thinner than ever, career-driven, no children, we picked up like no time had transpired between us. For hours, we laughed, reminisced, ate and had a great time. And I mused at the fact that the girl who was late for school on a regular basis was now an executive vice president for a billionaire’s foundations.

It’s funny how life turns out with friends that come and go, those that stick and those you make later in life when you’re fully you, no masks or facades. So in this holiday season, I’d like to send a shout out to my friends, old and new, younger and older. For in the tapestry of life, all have added color, texture and threads that bind—even if just for just a little while.

Greetings to MaryFran, Pat, Carmen, Carol, Kathy, Kathy, Mary, Ruth, Amy, Amy and anyone else that has flitted on by or hovered close for some time.

Merry Christmas to all—and to all a good flight!