Saturday September 2, 2006

     Ever had what you knew just had to be a Providential appointment?  I have.  Had one yesterday, in fact.  And it was wonderful!!

     About three weeks ago, I received a e-mail out of the blue from a dear old friend.  We grew up together this fella and I.  I’ve known him since I was about 11.  He was the drum major for the community band that I’ve mentioned before.  We started together in the junior band, and graduated to the senior band together.  Our homes were far enough apart that we attended different elementary and junior high schools, but high school had us on the same campus.  Of course we were in high school band together, too.  He and I remained close.  We had tons of great conversations, went places together, and had our share of silly times, too.  When Copper and I got married, this great friend even did us the honor of not only serving as a groomsman, but put together an orchestra of friends, directed by our old high school band teacher to play during the wedding, arranged a piece of music especially for our wedding, and dedicated an original composition of his for the wedding as well. 

     It was great to hear from him again, and we’ve been e-mailing back and forth ever since.  But his health is poor.  Diabetes has taken a toll on my 50 year old friend, and he now relies on dialysis several times a week.  His eyesight is poor.  All this has happened during the years that we’ve been out of touch.  That breaks my heart.  Were there times that I might have been able to help?  Were there times when knowing I was praying for him would have been comforting?  I don’t know, and there is no way, now, that I can go back and set things aright.  But I CAN be sure that we don’t drift apart again.

     Being in touch with him again, has reminded me that I’ve also fallen out of touch with a woman whom I’ve always referred to as my-best-friend-from-forever.  She and I had been best buds since third grade!  That’s a long time, my friends!!!  We were in school together all the way through.  Our families counted on one another for child care in emergencies – me staying with her family when my grandmother died suddenly, and she and her sister spending Christmas with us when her father’s ulcers caused him to be hospitalized.  We took vacations with one another’s families.  We overnighted at one another’s houses a lot!  We were one another’s maid/matron of honor.  My girls call her Aunt.  I haven’t spoken to her since right after Copper’s mom died a year and a half ago.  So, I’d been thinking about calling her or sending her an e-mail.  You know, thinking about it.  Planning on doing it.  Tomorrow.  Know what I mean?

     Yesterday I was in town running a few errands before heading to Corin’s house for the afternoon.  I planned on running through the Burger King drive through, and eating in the car on the way to her house.  But the drive through was backed up twenty cars!!  Aha!!  No one was inside the restaurant.  So I parked, went in and ordered my lunch to go, and went to the soda fountain to pour my drink.  Wasn’t I clever?

     The moment I heard his voice, though it had been since my dad’s funeral in 1993 that I’d last heard it, I knew it was my best-friend-from-forever’s dad.  While I let the foam die down in my cup, I leaned back and looked.  Sure enough, there he sat, deep in conversation with another gentleman.  I finished filling my soda, put the lid on and approached, with a very timid, “Hi.  Remember me?”.

    Well, he most certainly did!  He jumped up and embraced me (can’t think of his ever having done that!) and just grinned from ear to ear.  He said that he ate lunch with this particular man “every time I come in here”, moved to another booth and bid me to sit down and have lunch with him.  I knew Corin would understand. 

     I spent the most delightful hour or so with him!  I honestly did!  Mostly listening, but happily answering his questions, too.  His wife is now residing in a care home, lost to Alzheimer’s.  From what he said, she won’t be trapped in her disease for much longer, but will be going Home.  He wanted me to go with him to visit her, but I told him that Corin would think I’d fallen off the face of the earth if I didn’t arrive soon.  However, I took his cell phone number (why does it crack me up that he carries a cell phone???), and promised that I’d call him in the next week or two, meet him at Burger King for lunch, and then go with him to visit his wife.  And I will!!  I will not procrastinate any longer.  I know that running into him yesterday, and even the back up at the drive through, was providential.  My heart was immediately turned from “soon” and “I need to” and “tomorrow” to DO IT NOW!!

     Time is fleeting.  The days are evil, says the Lord, and we must make the best use of the time we are given (Ephesians 5:16).  Time has a way of working its worst.  My dear old friend has been plagued by diabetes.  My best-friend-from-forever’s mom suffers with Alzheimer’s and doesn’t even know her own family any longer. Me?  Oh, yeah, I’ve been busy.  Busy tending to the needful things of life, but who gave me permission to let go of old friends?

    I did spend part of the afternoon with Corin, of course, but I sat down at my computer soon after getting home and e-mailed my best-friend-from-forever telling her who I’d had lunch with, and telling her that I really and truly wanted to renew our friendship.  I’m hoping I’ll hear back from her soon.

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