I've been thinking of this for some time now, thinking of writing about the friends in my life. If I were to die tomorrow, would people know how much they truly meant to me? So many of my dearest friends are scattered throughout the states making it difficult to keep in touch with them. Facebook is an avenue to use when none other is available, but who really has time to follow the lives of all their friends on Facebook? Besides, it's so impersonal. In my ideal world, I'd have time to send cards and letters to those I miss and love so dearly, but who am I kidding? I barely have time to send my monthly check to the utility companies who lack online payment capabilities...
So today I write my first "Circle of Friends" blog. In no order of significance (as who can possibly rank their friends in order of importance), I start with my oldest and dearest friend, Valerie. Now, a crazy woman named Martha may object as I met the two of them at the same time, but as Valerie has taken my place in Utah in putting up with my two older sisters, she certainly (and understandably) trumps Martha...
I don't remember when I first gave Valerie the nickname "Old Faithful" but she would be able to tell you. Valerie has the memory of an elephant and it is guaranteed that the memories you have purposely forgotten, she will bring up in a random conversations. The only good thing about Valerie being able to recall all of the details of our friendship is that I have a photo of her wearing tight black leather pants and sporting them like the hootchie-mamas we once were!
So, yes, my Old Faithful friend is the kind of friend that will always be there for you. When no one else is around, Valerie will be there for you. I remember having to move out of my apartment after a dirt-biking accident put me in a wheelchair, unable to work. I was a young 20 years old and had no health insurance because at that age, you think you are invincible. So, here is me in my wheelchair having to pack up and move ... somewhere. I don't even remember where I moved to (I was on a lot of pain meds at the time), but I do remember Valerie being the only friend in my circle of friends that helped me pack up my apartment.
Years later after I had relocated with the company we (including Martha) worked for, Valerie and my sister, Deb, began hanging out. Now, I don't remember when I brought the two of them together. It could have been during all the going away events we had before I moved away or maybe on one of my holiday trips home when we ladies would hootchie it up at the clubs, but somewhere along the way, Val and Deb became good friends.
I have to stop to explain one thing about Valerie: she has a very unique, dry and sarcastic sense of humor. She CRACKS ME UP, but if you don't know her, she might offend you. (I'm laughing as I write this!) I vaguely recall a get together with my oldest sister and some of her friends... I learned about this via telephone since I was living in Virginia at the time, but something about "Valerie offended someone" causing a big blow-up of some sort. Meanwhile, I'm on the phone laughing about it because I LOVE Valerie and find her to be one of the funniest people I've ever met, but I so know how her humor isn't for the light-hearted or easily offended. It took a few more years for me to build a friendship between Valerie and my oldest sister (had to get the older sister over that blow-up, whatever it was), but Valerie is family now. She is one of my sisters. Family get-togethers in Utah aren't complete if Valerie isn't there.
Over the years, we don't talk as often. Our conversations are always several hours long so it makes it hard when I'm two hours ahead and our schedules are busy and uncoordinated, but I hope in my heart that Valerie knows how much she means to me. I know after months of not talking, I can call her (even in tears) and will laugh for the next two hours. I'll get off the phone feeling loved and valued for who I am and know there is someone important in my life. I know if my sister needs someone to be there, Valerie will be there for her because she really has become a part of our family (dysfunctional though it is). I know that for all my flaws and imperfections, and my lack of keeping in touch, Valerie is here for me, a true friend. Although we always joke about her nickname, my life is better because of Old Faithful.
So, I hope you've enjoyed getting to know about my oldest friend, Val, and I hope you've enjoyed reading my first installment of Circle of Friends!