LOUISE: Friends in Far Places

I’m wondering how many of you attended the Garth Brooks’ concert in Tulsa recently. I wasn’t there but I’m betting he sang his signature song, “Friends in Low Places.” How could he not? The fans would go crazy and even sing it themselves if he tried to skip it. I enjoy the lively tune but I find that many of my friends are now in “far” places—other cities, states and even countries. 

Aundrea, Gaylen, Yolanda & Louise at the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, ArkansasI never had pen pals while growing up, so “far-off friends” came as a surprise when I started publishing my writing. I received letters from all over the United States. In fact, I have a wonderful, longtime friend in Alabama because of one of my Guideposts articles.

But some of my favorite far-off friends are high school girlfriends who now live in different places. With each passing year, we try to keep in better touch, friending each other on Facebook and texting or calling when life takes a dramatic turn. Who would have thought 50 years ago that we would still be so close? We also try to get together for Girlfriend Adventures. Our latest was in April of last year.

My son, Jay and I spent the month of April in Bella Vista, Arkansas, celebrating Jay’s birthday with his brother, Aaron and his family in Bentonville—just a few miles down the road from our rented townhouse. We visited all kinds of attractions, shopped, ate at fun restaurants and had a picnic at beautiful Blowing Springs Park. But there was another special adventure that also took place that month.

One weekend, some of my girlfriends came for a visit. From the minute we met for lunch on Thursday until they left on Saturday, we were reliving old times and acting like the teenagers we were when we attended high school together. We were one crazy bunch. At a restaurant one evening, Yolanda was absolutely positive a lady was staring at us for being too loud. Did we care? No! Although Gaylen did try to give her the old “evil eye.” Is that high school behavior? Of course! And what fun to be so unencumbered for a few days.

We took pictures then hung out a bit in the hotel lobby to see what was going on there. One time, the girls piled into the elevator but forgot to punch a button after the doors closed. Everyone was having a ball, laughing and talking, before someone finally realized they weren’t moving. People outside the elevator door could hear the lively conversation and were laughing too.

My son, Aaron gave us a grand tour of the beautiful Crystal Bridges Museum where we took more pictures. Such fun. We even threatened to TP an old friend’s house who lived in the area and was taunting us on Facebook. What sixty-something-year-olds act like that? High school friends! There’s nothing like them.

I am so thankful for these sweet sisters, especially when I look at the March calendar and see that Carl and I would have been married 49 years this month. I still miss my husband desperately and wonder if he will be celebrating in heaven. Surely they have cheeseburgers and fries—our anniversary meal. I’ll celebrate with the same, then call or text my girlfriends and share my heart. They will be tender and gentle and offer their own special sentiments and memories of Carl—a guy they all knew and respected because he loved their sister-friend so well.

Thanks, Girlfriends. Love y’all!

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