Anyway, both these posts were about girlfriends, and it made me want to say "Me, too!! Me, too!!" So, here goes:
You've got a friend in me, You've got a friend in me
When the road looks rough ahead and you're miles and miles
From your nice warm bed, just remember what your old pal said
Boy, you've got a friend in me, You've got a friend in me
You've got troubles, well I've got 'em too
There isn't anything I wouldn't do for you
We stick together and we see it through
You've got a friend in me --Randy Newman
Wonderful friends! I’ve got ‘em, and I need them all. But there are five of us who are especially important to one another—my book club. V is a member, too. All of us have been friends for over twenty years. We have many other friends in common. We all know each other’s families inside-out. It’s a tight group.
The term “book club” is a euphemism, really, which is a constant source of humor both for us and the husbands of some who refer to it, instead, as the “booze club!” I will explain.
Some years ago (five maybe? Time certainly gets by me…) we good friends all decided that we would read books together and meet monthly in homes, although one had the particular favorite home for us to attend. (She, of the blonde brownies, the wonderful raisin pie and homemade chicken soup!) We had great times together centered on the books we were reading. Since that time things began to fall apart for some of us, especially with yours truly.
These girls have helped me through betrayal by my husband and are helping me still negotiate the emotional swamps of the divorce. They are one of the “constants” in my life on which I lean heavily.
They, too, have had their troubles. We have talked out kid problems; we have commiserated through ill-treatment of one at her work; serious health issues; financial problems abound. The last couple of years have been a rough patch for us all. We know and trust each other unequivocally, and this is the “council” to whom we turn in our time of need. We have called ourselves the “T-N-T’s,” because we are with each other through Thick ‘N’ Thin. This title is not a euphemism—it is a fact. We are each other’s support group.
When the trouble hit the fan for us all (now that’s a euphemism), we gradually dropped the reading, although we still refer to ourselves as a book club. When I found out about my husband’s affair, I quit doing many things that had been central to my daily life: I quit listening to NPR as I drove, preferring to driving in silence; I quit attending church because it was so connected with my life with my husband; I quit cooking for people, which I love to do; and I quit reading altogether, which was HUGE.
My home is dominated by books and I am, in my authentic self, an avid reader of everything, non-fiction or fiction. The picture below is what you see when you walk into my home--books are everywhere (the photo is not good, but if you look through the doors you see a room full of books on three walls). The books you see in these two rooms may account for maybe half my library, the other volumes stowed in a floor-to-ceiling bookcase-lined hallway upstairs and in shelves in my bedroom (both way too messy to picture here!)
In retrospect, I think that during that initial pain I had some primal need to focus on survival. Everything extraneous went wayside as I concentrated on managing pain.
About the time I quit reading, the others, one-by-one also dropped the book thing, although we still met. But, not only did we drop reading, we picked up another place to meet: a local Mexican restaurant which serves delicious but cheap Margaritas. We have our own booth. The wait staff knows us. Now we meet there as the need arises and have Mexican food and Margaritas or beers with lime. Hence the term “booze club.” It fits.
If you read through the posts from six months ago, you will see some about our book club’s December bunking party—a wacky annual event that I love. V and I are already talking about adding a summer sleepover, making this a biannual tradition. I relish the thought of wine on the back porch in the late evening under citronella candles. The woods are alive with sounds in the summer nights, and it is beyond peaceful. The only addition needed is the company of good friends. (see the woods view off my back porch, below. It's a mess, too, but imagine it with twinkle lights and japanese lanterns and good friends in the evening!)
The posts I read about friendship this morning hit a particular chord with me. Just two weekends ago we all attended the wedding of the son of one of the "T'N'T's." It was a joyous, happy time, and I am reminded yet again of our solidarity. It was good to have each other (at least for me). I was “at home” with them amongst many with whom I was not acquainted. We had a wonderful time celebrating this wonderful milestone for a child all of us have known almost his whole life. We cheered for him and for his mother. And here, for your viewing pleasure, is a group photo of the T'N'Ts.
V is second from left in this picture. I'm the chunky one with glasses, second from right.
I am hoping there is someone out there who will be interested enough to read this little missive, because I want so much to tell women how important their girlfriends are. The relationship is just different from that with husbands or other males…it is, in many ways, deeper and richer with a shared connection that one must be female to have. We need to treasure them, and I thank my blogging friends for their posts this morning reminding me of that treasure!!! - C.