Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Furniture and friendship

When I lived in Missoui in the early '60s, I loved to go to auctions. Mom and Pop out on the farm would die, and the children would sell off all that old stuff. I still have the round oak pedestal table I paid $3 for, an oak washstand, a marble-topped buffet with burled insets and wonderful glass knobs. But it's been years since I did that--the bargains aren't there, I'm not close to those country auctions if they still exist, and, most important, my house is full. I cannot fit another piece of furniture in. But I just bought four wonderful chairs.

The chairs in the family room/playroom/children's room are lovely antiques with woven cane seats, not a good combination with little children. I spend a lot of time saying, "Put your bottom in the chair. Dont' stand." Jacob, in particular, will eye me as though speculating on how serious I am about this, then grin and sit down, only to stand a few minutes later. Jordan suggested the logical solution was to stop worrying about the cane seats and buy some durable chairs. So I commissioned my friend Kathie, who goes to garage sales every Saturday morning like they were church. She called three times Saturday (I was out), leaving messages and phone numbers for me to look at some "black" chairs not far from home. Black? Not with my oak! But Monday night at dinner, she raved so about them that I called the guy. He called them "mission" chairs and said they were "mocha." (They turned out to be a heavily grained oak stained quite dark.) I went to see them last night, bought them in an instant, and the former owner delivered them this morning. I am so pleased with them that I wander back there every once in a while just to look. I don't think the picture does them justice, but . . . .
A friend sent me a chain email today about friendship, much more interesting than most such, for it made the distinction between friends for a season--who are there to meet a need in your life and then move on--and friends for a lifetime. I've been thinking about friendship anyway--I have friends who moved on, sometimes leaving a bit of hurt behind, and I have friends of a lifetime with whom I have almost nothing in common except the friendship--and it endures. It seems I always make new friends, and now I'm wondering if they are for a season or for the long haul. There's Sue, a friend for almost two years who lives next door with her two kids. They're in a rental house that's not well maintained, and I know she'll move on some day--will the friendship remain without the proximity? There's Katie, someone I knew casually for years but over a book project the last couple of years, we've really developed a strong friendship. And Mary, whose columns I read in the paper but never knew--and now we visit over breakfast, again because books brought us together (one of the reasons I won't retire from my job--I meet such wonderful people!)
Then there are friends of ten-fifteen years, people that I'm confident are there for the duration. And there are those lifetime friendship--a few who frustrate me now but I'll never say it because there's that thing called friendship. And the friend who sent me the email? She was my "best friend" in high school and we went off to college together. Over the years we always kept in touch at Christmas and visited occasionally when we went through Mississippi or her family traveled through Texas but we didn't communicate often. And then came internet and email and we really rekindled our friendship, even had a wonderful weekend when she and Don came to Fort Worth and stayed in the guest house. I'm back to Jamie's phrase: New friends are silver, old friends are gold. I am blessed with much silver and gold.

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