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Talking it over: Lifetime friendships

There are friendships that come and go over the years and then there are friendships that last a lifetime. I have had my share of both and recently had a chance to rejuvenate one of those lifetime friendships.

I was thrilled a few weeks ago to receive an email from one of my classmates whom I had not seen for several decades. Brenda Olsen and I became friends at a very early age, probably when we both went to kindergarten at the old country school located between our homes. We ended up the next year in town school together and rode the same school bus. We became instant bus buddies and spent lots of time sharing secrets on those long, bumpy rides.

During the summer we missed each other a lot so we would call up and ride our bikes, meeting half way. We spent some time exploring woods and abandoned farm places in the area. We had overnight stays and made some great memories. We had that connection that is so rare and we just plain loved to spend time together.

Brenda’s family eventually moved off the farm and into town so our adventures on the bus and during the summer stopped. However, it couldn’t daunt our friendship which remained strong through the years. She would spend nights at my house and I would spend time at hers. One of my favorite memories was the two of us sneaking out of my house to meet some friends camping nearby.

After graduation, Brenda moved to The Cities and eventually to states on the east coast. We kept in touch through our yearly Christmas letters and occasional emails or phone calls. Her parents  passed away and siblings all moved to other towns so it was difficult for her to make the trip to Hancock. There were just too many other places she needed to be.

Last week, Brenda and three of her sisters came to Hancock for a visit. I was so excited to see all of them and happily shared a tour of the school, town and a trip to their old farm site, now totally gone. I immediately had that connection back with my dear friend. We had no trouble talking about our lives and sharing some of what could not be put in those letters and emails.

When it came time to say goodbye again, it was very difficult. We both expressed concerns that we may never see each other again, which put a huge lump in my throat. After all, we had to admit that age and health issues are creeping up on us.

Later I thought about the visit and realized I needed to be thankful for this brief but meaningful time we had together. We didn’t need it to reinforce our friendship but it was very nice anyway. It made me thankful not only for this lifetime friendship but for all the great friends I have made through the years. Those relationships are very precious and in some cases, not even time or distance can make them less strong.