Historic Friends

We were with friends who have known each other for 68 years. I realized they have known me longer than anyone else on earth, aside from my brother. That is history! There are others who fit that description, and we wished they could have been there. We sat in Linda’s living room and let the memories pour out. After an hour, I thought I was on overload. How could I remember all the things we talked about? I couldn’t, but I can share a story or so.

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We were last together in 2012. Since then, Linda went to the brink of death and back, and that’s what I wanted to know about. The president of our (public) high school class sent out a call for prayer for her. That’s part of having grown up in the South, something I took for granted until I moved north. This group will talk openly about faith. We got reports about her having an aneurysm in the brain and surviving the surgery. She didn’t mind talking about it and described how she woke up feeling odd. It was only two months after the death of her husband. Her children rallied around to care for her until she was back on her feet. She remembers only sketchy things about those first days. She knew the surgeon was going to try to repair things in the middle of her brain and was told many people don’t survive the surgery. If they live through it, there could be great damage. Linda says her inherited stubbornness made her determined to be a survivor. She came through that well, only to find out there were two more aneurysms nearer the skull that were subsequently operated on. Becky said she went to the hospital during the first round, and Linda remembered seeing her there. If I hadn’t been told of this near catastrophe, I would never had guessed it by seeing her now.

I wrote recently about the Arp Consolidated school near my hometown, and I found that Becky had a connection to it, as well. Back in the 60’s she was assigned to teach there for a couple of years. She had followed in her parents’ footsteps. Her mother was the home bound teacher, going to children’s homes when they couldn’t go to school. There were children needing long-term help, as well as those with a broken leg or temporary impairment. Her dad was the principal of one of the schools in the area.

Becky mentioned that her grandfather had been a circuit rider – a Methodist minister who rode about an area having church services in places where there was no organized church. She wondered aloud if he had ridden a horse. We all agreed he must have. In the recent past, she was invited to speak at a church where her granddad had served. No one was old enough to remember him, but it was a very special occasion for her.

I didn’t know Linda and husband William had an antique business for years. They had a booth, and later more than one, in an antique mall. We were glad to have an expert with us as we walked through this shop. Her house is full of beautiful antiques, lots of clocks, and untold numbers of old books that William wanted to own. Linda said they first learned the value of things from books and experience, since that was before the Google age. I thought the experience part was amusing. Linda said if a group of people came in and one snatched up a piece before the others could see it, she knew for certain that it was valuable.

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Restaurant inside an antique store

I was grateful most of my stories seemed to end up where I wanted them to. There was a bathroom incident that shook me up for a few seconds. Becky found a restaurant for us that was in the middle of an antique shop. The door to the ladies’ restroom was a front door with an oval insert of glass. I locked the door and thought nothing more of it until I was half undressed on the inside. Eek! Can people see me? I waved a hand to make sure it was a mirror and not clear glass. This probably would not have occurred to me if I didn’t have recurring nightmares about bathrooms that are not very private. You are privy to my secret. I expect to see this one again in a dream someday (or night).

Becky noticed signs for coconut cake, denoting it was something special there. Before we ordered lunch, she told the waitress we’d share one piece for dessert. From experience, I knew to cover my clean knife with my hand as my lunch plate was removed. The cake was divvied up, and we dug in.

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The afternoon ended too soon. If we had stayed longer though, I feel precious memories would have been shooting into the air for lack of storage space.