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…Run Out of Friendship Tea

Something about the November rain fills me with the certainty of change. Leaves relinquish their tenuous hold on branches trembling in the wind, tumble across yards mown for a final time weeks ago, and gather in soggy corners. The sun rises and sets with a shorter span between those hours. Blustery winds drive us to the closet for warm jackets and gloves. The year hastens to its close, with a burst of holidays to keep us from minding the weather too much.

I know what you’re thinking.

You’re thinking, ‘Where’s the sass?!’ You’re thinking, ‘I read this blog for the humor!’ You’re thinking, ‘I thought these posts were about the foibles and fun of friendship!’

Yeah, yeah, yeah. ‘Hold yer horses!’ I’ll get there.

As I was waxing nostalgic about the season’s change and my advancing age and the grey November that leads, as it always does, to the sparkle of December, I realized, ‘dang!’ it’s cold in this house!’ I’ve already donned slippers and an extra sweater, and the damp chill lingers. What’s a girl to do? Make more coffee? Mmmm – tempting as that may be, it just didn’t feel right.

Then I remembered. ‘Friendship tea.’ The spicy, citrusy, warm-your-hands-around-a-mug of wonderfulness that never tastes right in July, but warms

friendship tea

friendship tea

 

you from noes to toes in the midst of the Autumn drear.

You’ll note, I trust, that the jar is nearly empty. This is unacceptable. Friends don’t let friends run out of friendship tea. It simply isn’t done.

Why?

Because. Because friends don’t let friends go through crises alone.

Friends get us through the summer crisis of buying a swimsuit that we can wear outside the dressing room, reminding us that we can’t see ourselves when we’re at the beach, so who cares what it looks like, really?!

Friends get us through the crisis of making the Thanksgiving gravy, bringing a jar of already made ‘just in case.’

Friends get us through the crisis of raising kids, commiserating, cajoling, comforting us by turns as we slog through the toughest job we love more than anything.

Friends get us through the crisis of the empty nest, bringing a jar of freshly made ‘Friendship Tea’ and filling up the empty rooms with warm laughter, shared stories, and reminders of how good it is to embrace another season of change, together.

A nearly empty jar of ‘Friendship Tea’ hardly qualifies as a crisis. Still, the jar reminds me — friends don’t let friends run out. Not out of the dressing room scantily clad in an ill-fitting swimsuit. Not out of the kitchen when the gravy doesn’t ‘get.’ Not out of the nest it’s taken a lifetime to feather. And friends don’t let friends run out of ‘Friendship Tea.’ The tea merely symbolizes the friendship. And these days, with change we can hardly believe, much less believe in, well… we need our friends to help us weather that.

So, put the kettle on. Don’t let your friends run out…

 

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…Look in the Mirror

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Memorial Day has come. And gone. You know what that means.

Summer, though still a few weeks away on the calendar, is back.  “Now is the winter of our discontent/Made glorious summer” by the rising mercury. (sometimes, a Shakespeare line needs a bit of tweaking, you know?)

Summer means grilling on endless repeat. Summer means watermelons, peaches, vine-ripened tomatoes, corn on the cob. Summer means driving with the top down, or, for those without jeeps and convertibles, with the windows open. Summer means birdsong, green, growing things and  bees. Summer means boating excursions. And you know what that means.

Yes, my friends. “Swimsuit season.” 

Back when I was young enough that we still took the kids on family vacations, a dear friend and I went swimsuit shopping. On the fun meter, such an event ranks right up there with enduring a root canal, getting a speeding ticket, and cleaning up vomit.

Face it, swimsuit shopping requires a good look in the mirror.

Here’s what we discover:

Swimsuit shopping forces a girl to acknowledge that her actual size and the tagged size never match, so she’s going to feel like a fatty no matter what.

Swimsuit shopping reminds us gals that our skin will suddenly be exposed, not only to the sun, but to other pairs of eyes besides our own.

Swimsuit shopping highlights the fact that I don’t look like swimsuit models, whose diets, I suspect, consist wholly of celery, a vegetable so vacuous that more calories are burned in chewing it than are contained in its ribbed stalks.

Swimsuit shopping convinces us that there is not enough celery in the world.

 

But in the midst of our miserable, I-eat-chocolate-instead-of-celery swimsuit shopping nightmare, my friend pulled a nautical, horizontally-striped one-piece suit from the rack. She held it up, laughing at the over-sized Tweety bird (of Looney Tunes fame) emblazoned across its tanked front, and said, “I really kind of like this one!”

And then she uttered the words I’ve lived by ever since:

“After all, when I’m on the beach, I don’t have to look at me!”

 

Swimsuit shopping. Like watermelon, fireworks, and a little time in the water, it comes with summertime. And you know what that means.

But at least friends don’t let friends put a mirror on the pontoon.