The essence of Friendship DayWritten by Pamela Crabtree | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday August 3 is Friendship Day. A proclamation was made by the United States Congress in 1935 declaring the first Sunday in August as Friendship Day. This special and almost invisible occasion is dedicated to friends and friendship.
Most of us lay claim to a few friends. The closeness one feels to a friend or friends may be calibrated in different ways and to different degrees. For example, there are workplace friends, neighborhood friends, family friends, church friends, drinking friends, school friends and childhood friends. There are close friends, good friends and toxic friends. On a philosophical side, Aristotle noted three types of friendships: Friendships of Utility which could use the premise of “quid pro quo”, Friendships of Pleasure where people simply enjoy one another’s company and Friendships of Good which are lifelong and where each friend values the others virtues.
I am honored to have many friends and love many of them, but the dearest friend I have is Kathleen, who came to Toledo from England. We met when we were growing up in West Toledo when we were both 7-years-old. Kathy attended Nathan Hale with me for a couple of years and then Kathleen went to Gesu School while I remained at Hale. Kathy and I could talk about anything and everything. As the years progressed we became even closer. In the summers of the late 1950s, we would play jacks on the front porch while we listened to CKLW on Kathy’s transistor radio. We’d ride our bikes around west Toledo or take the Community Traction bus downtown to Tiedtke’s and have lunch in the cafeteria. After lunch and a quick stop at Kresge’s we’d take in a movie at the Paramount or Pantheon theaters. In the winters we’d go sledding down the big hill at Ottawa Park and ice skate on Waldon Pond and again go downtown to Tiedtke’s and take in a movie.
Spending the night at each others’ houses was as commonplace in our young lives as a cherry Coke at the Fairmont Pharmacy on Dorr and Upton Avenues. But the times we did have to separate, we’d always make sure to shake off all the “cooties”, on the sidewalk, midpoint between our houses. It was a wonderful and carefree time.
But as with life, all good things come to an end and Kathy and her family returned to England when we were finishing up 8th grade. It was a sad occasion, but did little to dampen our affection for each other. We stayed in touch by sending pictures and letters. She moved to British Columbia, married and had three sons. I stayed in the Toledo area married and had three sons and a daughter. We laughed when we discovered we named our youngest sons Eric. Just before we ushered in our 50th birthdays, we reunited in Penticton B.C. Our reunion was glorious and not without tears. We started talking and I don’t believe we stopped until I left. It was as if we picked up where we left off when we were 13. The compatibility that was forced into dormancy decades before was awakened without so much as a jostle.
When it was time to say goodbye again, it was in dramatic contrast to our nonchalant separation as children. This time we embraced for what was a long time on the outside, but too short a time in our hearts. I asked her to please write and walked away quickly. Mirroring a scene from the movies, I started to turn to look at her once again but caught myself and kept on walking as I waved my arm. Since our reunion we have seen each other a couple of more times. We both are doting grandmothers and keep each other informed about the goings-on with our grandchildren.
August 3, 2008 will be a bittersweet Friendship Day for me because my dear friend Kathy is very ill with Cancer and her prognosis is not favorable. In one of Kathy’s last e-mails to me she wrote, “You are a very good friend and I don’t think I have told you that enough.” It is with Kathy’s poignant words in mind that I ask if you have a special friend ,make a concerted effort on August 3 to let that person know how important he or she is to you. An unknown author wrote, “A Friend is someone who knows all about you and loves you anyway!!!.”