She and I met in third grade and were instant BFF’s and even though we only attended two years of the same school together we have remained the best of friends. We see each other about twice a year and don’t waste any time getting into conversation over a salad at Jason’s deli. We laugh at how we choose “healthy” and then load it up with goodness to the equivalent of at least three Big Mac’s. And then it leads us into the next question, “Do you want to be my accountability partner even though we’re horrible accountability partners?” I laugh and say, “Yeah, but this year will be different.” And we eat, laugh and commiserate with each other. She tells me she misses community among women her age with kids her age and I tell her I have been there too. We talk about it a while. She expresses a desire to hear from older women in her church – to pour into her age group. She longs for the wisdom older women offer in churches – can offer. We get off on a few other topics and then decide it’s totally time to shop.But before we leave the booth I opened up my funny Christmas gift that represents a blast from the past – last year it was a Pink Pig ornament. This year it would be a Christmas Waffle House mug because only the Lord knows how many hours we clocked in at the Abernathy Road Waffle House. Sometime we skated in the parking lot complete with leg warmers and pony tails swishing back and forth. Other times we sat at the other end of the restaurant and staged a grown up conversation that inevitably resorted to loud bursts of laughter, spewing water and many times a reprimand . So this mug brought back lots of fun memories. I will drink my hoity toity Starbucks coffee in a Waffle House mug. I love that combo.
Next we hit a Barnes and Noble and can hardly contain ourselves when we come across the knock-off, elf on the shelf that is now 75% off – all one hundred and four of them. Her Mother is a fine Christian southerner just like my Mother and believe me, no elf-on-a-shelf is going to even make you think it’s even possible for an elf to take the place of Jesus at Christmas time. And so we start laughing hysterically as she describes the scene her Mother staged over Christmas of the elf-on-the-shelf with an opened up Bible , reading the Christmas story. The day prior the elf had been placed in the Christmas tree with pairs of underwear everywhere. I don’t have to tell you her Mama didn’t stage that one. So the elf needed a little come to Jesus meeting. We were laughing harder and louder. People were looking at us with the annoying “save your giddy laughing for happy hour” look and then I had to look at them with the annoying “I don’t drink” look and so we were all just gawking at each other. Okay, not really but we were getting quite loud so we moved to another selection of books which only brought on more hysterics. It started when I noticed a cute yellow book called, “Does this church make me look fat” – A Mennonite Finds Faith, Meets Mr. Right, and Solves Her Lady Problems by Rhoda Janzen. We both picked up a copy and started reading. She was in the back of the book reading hilarious excerpts out loud and I was in the front of the book cracking up and saying, “Oh you gotta hear this….” I knew I had to get this book…..I had two days to read this thing before going home and I’ve been craving to devour a great, light read. This was it! We bought our journals for 2013, my funny book and then headed for some deals at Hobby Lobby but apparently we were about seven days too late. We hit a few other shops and then our time was almost up. We hugged and talked about a future girls day out even if it would be another eight months down the road. I got in my car and had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for friendship – the kind that erupts into laughter in a public place with no regard to what others think. The kind of friend that gets you, loves you, and prays for you. It just made me want to hold up my new Waffle House Christmas mug and toast to another year of Friendships – both old and new!