Gratitude Sunday: The Value Of Friends

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

Sunday Haiku
Long days, warmer nights,
cool evening breeze, soft and sweet,
glorious summer.

Sunday Musings
Where would we be without friends?

I consider myself a fairly independent person (not to be confused with self-sufficient). I’ve had to be. I have limited social skills; I’m not Miss Popularity or Miss Congeniality. The hubster has physical challenges and for most his adult life has not been able to work, so I’m the one who has been out in the world, alienating people. The alienation is my own fault; I’m opinionated and share freely. My opinions are often not mainstream. So, there’s that.

My dad always complained he didn’t have friends. My mom always said you have to be a friend to make a friend. It interests me how my efforts to be a friend has rarely made a friend. When you make efforts and invite and call, and they don’t invite back or call, after a while you know when you’ve been snubbed or deemed not worthy of their friendship. It’s not true of course; I am worthy; they just don’t realize my worth. I’ve learned over the years these are not true friends, so I’ve ended up like my dad. I’d rather have few friends than frenemies; I’ve learned trust issues from “friends”. I prefer honest relationships to people who kiss your face while stabbing you in the back.

I am lucky to have a handful of people I can call friends. I don’t get to see them often so time spent with them is precious. When we are able to get together it’s like we’ve never been apart, though it may be weeks or years between visits. How sad is that to visit so rarely. Phone calls and texts, even skyping just aren’t as satisfying. We may have our differences of opinion but we can tell each other those differences and still accept each other as worthy. The value there? Priceless.

Sissy’s pretty beach toes

This last month I have had the joy of spending time with both my sisters. The sister from my mother, the person who is more like me in DNA than any other person on this planet, took me to the beach for a weekend. We spent the night together like an old ladies sleep-over and had so much fun, talking, eating, sitting on the beach, watching a parade (2017 Tillamook June Dairy Parade), cavorting with pirates (Rockaway Beach Pirate Festival), leisurely watching the colony of ground squirrels play in the rocks at Rockaway Beach, and celebrating our differences and our likenesses (she is still physically able, me much less so; we both hate emptying the dishwasher and don’t mind filling it). There was nobody, no kids, or hubsters to interrupt our conversation or demand our attention. We lucked out and got a couple nice warm days, rare for the Oregon coast. I’ll take the beach any way I can get it, stormy or clear. As children we used to be like puppies, all over each other; now it’s one white-haired old lady helping the other. Love ages.

Beach sunset

My sister from another mother came out for a day visit. I was lucky to meet her when I was 12 and her family moved in up the street, going to the same junior high school (7th grade for our district); we were Camp Fire Girls together with my mom as the leader. She and Mom were fast friends as well, in our adult lives, a welcomed life-long relationship; I always admired her mom as well though we weren’t as close. We drove by the local university where a film crew was set up to film an episode of The Librarians seeing what we could see. Then the two of us with our canes invaded a local antique mall to look at good junk we didn’t need, but which sparked memories and history discussions. They had some lovely chairs to sit in when our legs got tired of walking on the concrete where we sat and yakked. Then we went out to a local lake, found a shady picnic table in a quiet spot, laid out our home-made picnic (no store-bought picnics for us!), and proceeded to talk the afternoon away.

How refreshing and heart strengthening these visits are! Being with people you trust who love and respect you is so validating, a reinforcement of your worthiness to exist which can be a hard notion to hang onto once you have left the paycheck world. We know it shouldn’t be like that, of course; retired people are still a wealth of knowledge and history, and good sounding boards for new ideas, but our culture doesn’t necessarily place those values on us elders. Any time I get to talk with an older person I ask them their stories and I learn the most amazing things. I recently talked to an elder who is 87 and she remembers the day Franklin D Roosevelt died. She was 14 years old, so he’d been president when she was born, because he died in office in 1945. She told of people crying in the streets everywhere she went after she got out of school. The stories of others are living history.

My sisters and I agree our stories and our stuff have little meaning to the next generations. The stuff we have that has been handed down the youngers don’t care about (it’s old, they say, with up-turned noses), and the stories mean even less. How did we teach these generations this is a throwaway world instead of how to use and keep our old things? I don’t buy the “fashion” excuse, and do not try to convince me of the value of consumerism. There may come a day when they are digging these old things out of the trash just to have something if the apocalypse is upon us. I can’t bear disposing of an old well-made piece of furniture, even if gaudy, for the scheduled obsolescence of many new products, technology being one of the few exceptions. I’m guessing they have never experienced sacrifice or doing without, or at least not to the same degree. While I didn’t feel deprived in my childhood, I knew we had financial limitations, and I inherited the Great Depression gene from family members who lived with so little and had to re-use and recycle every item that came into the house.

We will share our stories and our stuff as friends. We will force our stories on our friends and families in an effort to teach what has gone before so our youth will know how we got here and where to go from here. We can help to keep the bigger picture in mind because we’ve already been fighting the good fight for 50 years.

We will share new experiences and old memories. And if we are lucky, we get to share with a handful of trusted and faithful friends along the way. The value of friends? Priceless.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – If one wants to witness magic before one’s very eyes, one has only to go outside and experience nature. The reddening of a tomato from the green to become a sweet ripe globe to nourish us.

Green Tomatoes photo by Michelle Simkins

The work of bees and the transformation of flower nectar and pollen into honey, or flower to fruit. Standing in front of the evening blooming primrose and watching and smelling the scented blossoming happen within minutes right in front of your face.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016, rated PG), sort of part of the Harry Potter series. I’d read the book and found it to be an encyclopedic and fun revisit of mythical and fantastical creatures. They gave the movie a plot; Rowling’s name was in the credits. Even with all the computer generated beasts, meh. * Ashanti (1979, rated R) with Michael Caine, about modern day slave trafficking in South Africa. Interesting plot, if a little vapid, but it’s an older movie, and well, Michael Caine. * Season 6 of Call the Midwife (2016, rated TV – MA), as always, engaging stories with some cultural and political references, and a baby born every episode. No spoilers! * Started the Stephen Hawking series, Genius (2016, rated TV – G), in which Hawking encourages average people to follow the path of discovery in scientific thinking. It’s interesting, but what amazes me is how they can take 20 minutes of information and d-r-a-g it out into an hour’s production. * Started the Wiseguy (1987-1990, rated TV – 14) series. Very intense and I know why I missed it when it was on TV, as it is very much a man’s story, story of men, about men, and their manipulations for power, which I don’t connect with much. It would be nice to understand men more, but I’m not counting on ever understanding other people, especially men.

Currently Reading Hot Season (2016, fiction) by Susan Defreitas. Just started. * Back to Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right (2016, radical politics), by Jane Mayer. I had set this aside to read Elizabeth Warren’s book. Rather frightening what money can buy. * Finished Warren’s This Fight is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class (2017, social and fiscal policy) and I have to admit I was disappointed, having read all her other books. I like her writing style: it’s homey, reads like listening to her speak, and she states things simply and clearly for the average reader and non-political person to understand. However, in Fight she didn’t go far enough. She gives us good history and why politics are happening now as they are. She explains briefly why citizens have to fight to take back our government from the billionaire class. But she didn’t say how to do so. The average citizen in the United States is so ill-versed in politics and political action most people don’t know where to start. We need to know where to start and what to do, Elizabeth. Cheering us on is great, but just what do we need to do to change the tide of politics in this [what appears to be] crumbling democracy?

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Time spent with a long-time friend and a lovely day outside in a local park with our own hand-made picnic.
  • Hearing the son had a safe and successful vacation journey into the heart of Oregon to attend a Rainbow Family event, which can sometimes be fraught with tension.
  • Trash bins and learning how to throw unusable stuff out.
  • Finding my marriage certificate within seconds when I decided I wanted to look at it.
  • Being brave and washing the new hand-made quilt my niece made for me last Christmas. She said she’d already run it through her washer and dryer so I trusted her. It washed up beautifully. Sigh of relief I didn’t ruin it.
  • Not killing my clothes washer and dryer when I decided to wash my feather pillows. The local cleaners wanted 17 dollars per pillow. Um, no.
  • Having emery boards stashed all over the house so I can immediately take care of a fingernail snag, otherwise I started nibbling at the nail to make it smooth.
  • The little 2 year old in one of the swim classes at the pool who has taken a fancy to this old lady. She started as a “cryer”, one of those who is afraid of the water. I kept smiling at her from across the pool. Now the sweet child insists she needs to have me hold her for a couple minutes each class. We talk, and she is finding her comfort zone in the water and having a successful class session. Her swim instructor uses me as a bribe (if you do the lesson, you can visit Miss Sassy for two minutes at the end of class, which I reinforce by saying things like “Isn’t Miss Teacher fun!?!”). I’ll take it. Gives teacher a few minutes break, and I get a baby fix.
  • Being a “fixture” at the pool so swim instructors and parents trust me.
  • Not living in SoCal or Arizona in the heat.
  • Managing the bit of heat we have in Oregon with “natural” air conditioning and being able to be somewhat naked most of the day in the privacy of my own home.
  • People who are patient with my questions. Especially service people and friends.
  • Carrots, lemon cucumbers, Oregon Star tomatoes, and black cherries from the farmers market.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch
Green Tomatoes photo by Michelle Simkins
Read Michelle at


This entry was posted in abundance, Aging, Family, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Gratitude Sunday: The Value Of Friends

  1. piratesorka says:

    It was a wonderful day outside with my dear sister for me too. Not fancy,, just laid back and relaxed. There wasn’t even a single moment of tension…not even in the drive back home! Huzzah!! Actually I loved our conversation inside your home just as much. Imagine that! LOL.
    WE both need to find more ways to escape!


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