a friend is here indeed
sitting all around me,
listening to my song..."
Laurie sang, strumming her guitar. We were having an informal memorial service for my sweet friend Ron, who had died in a motorcycle accident.
This was over 30 years ago, and I haven't seen Laurie since then.
Laurie, Beth, and I were very young then, and very different from each other, but, thrown together as roommates in a cabin, we worked together at a state park in the Black Hills of South Dakota. After work and on days off, we would pile in someone's truck and go hiking or what we called "looping"- driving the scenic road that circled through the park, looking for wildlife. On the rolling hills we would find the semi-tame park burros and herds of buffalo. We would hang out the windows, enthralled, even though we saw the animals all the time, even having to skirt grumpy bison as we walked to the Visitor Center.
We all moved on after that summer, but every so often Laurie and Beth would pop up in a letter or on social media. This September they met in the Black Hills where we had worked. I wanted to go, but fires prevented me. Next year we are going to try to meet again for a park employees' reunion.
I admit, I'm not very good at staying in touch with anyone during fire season, unless they work with me. And it really is me, not you. After working months of 12-16 hour days, I don't have much left for anything or anyone. I always hope that friends will understand, but sometimes they don't. Maybe I wouldn't either.
I'm grateful for the ones who stay.
|Picture from Goodhousekeeping.com|