From 1971 to 1995, I moved every single year of my life. In 2005, before I came to North Carolina, I gave away or sold almost everything. It was just stuff.
The “things” that matter enough to hang onto in my life have a pulse.
There’s a country song out now, don’t ask me who sings it, I wouldn’t call country my genre – in fact – a few of you may be in need of a minute to recover from the fact that I know anything about country music. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
The song chorus is something along the lines of “you find out who your friends are” and while the chorus is self-explanatory, what I’m taking issue with is the things they rattle off as helping you figure out ‘who your friends are’, there’s mention of a flat tire, and a bus ticket.
Mr. Country-singer, I’m pretty sure you look adorable in your tight blue jeans, cowboy boots, and hat, but you need better friends, or more life. I’ve had friends drive me to the emergency room in the middle of the night with broken bones and migraine headaches, hold my hair while I revisit the Goldschlager experience, talk to me for hours in the wee hours of the night about the latest heartbreak life has handed me or just the price of milk and ducks - not once has bus fare entered into it. Perhaps ‘Golschlager’ and ‘migraine’ were just too hard to rhyme with.
Today, I helped a friend move. It was a simple move, easily accomplished by 3 women, 1 puppy, 1 five year old boy, and 1 husband with a badly broken toe. One trip, to done, and 15 minutes later we were on our way to celebrate over burgers and beer (or hummus and tomatoes if you’re the five year old.)
Moving, even when it’s easy, is a far better example of finding out who your friends are. Work is always easier when shared with many hands and burgers never taste better than when shared over such a happy occasion.
If I’ve learned anything about friendship and grief these last few years, it’s that when things go all pear shaped for you or your friends, there really isn’t anything anyone can do.
So, when things are good, show up. Pick up a box. Spend a minute watching the puppy chase the 5 year old around the new backyard. Talk about wallpaper and bed placement, and about buying a grill. Talk about dinner parties and kitty cats soon to come home.
That’s who my friends are.