“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
I am truly blessed to be one of a group of four friends who have known each other for a very long time. One of the four is my sister who is just over a year younger than me, close enough in age so that she thought my friends were automatically hers and just that much younger than me that I found her to be extremely annoying. Being the slightly older, much more mature sister, I was forever telling her to “go and find your own friends!” Being the determined, stubborn, younger sister, she finally weaseled her way in to my circle of friends for good and I am glad that she did. Just don’t tell her I said that.
Another of the group, I have known since Grade Three when I moved to BC from Newfoundland with my gummy smile and my funny accent that she was so quick to point out. She thought it was quite humorous when I would say things such as, “I loves that” or “I’ll have a root bear”. My accent quickly faded but our friendship did not. We soon became fixtures in each others lives and homes. If I wasn’t at her house, then she was at mine and we had sleepovers all the time, even on school nights. Our friendship started out with her laughing at me and continues with her laughing at me. I don’t know if she just, automatically, laughs at everything that I say or if I am just really funny when I am around her. I like to think it’s the latter.
The last to join our group was actually my sister’s friend first. They were in Grade Nine when they met and I think the conversation went something like this:
“Hey, you’re new here, aren’t you?”
“Yeah, don’t you guys party around here?”
“Sure. Why don’t you come to my house later? It’s the one with the red picnic table in the front. Don’t mind the red picnic table. Oh, yeah and by the way, my sister has an older boyfriend. Cool, huh?”
At the house with the red picnic table, not only did she find the party that she was looking for but also the beginnings of a lifelong friendship.
It has been about thirty years since the days of the red picnic table and since then we have celebrated eight weddings, rejoiced at the births of nine children and two grandchildren, endured six marital break-ups and grieved the deaths of one father, two brothers and several friends.
Between us, we have cried many tears, tears of sadness and tears of joy. We have also consumed countless bottles of red wine and sung numerous renditions of Janice Joplin’s, Me and Bobby Magee including one that ended with a broken coffee table. Don’t ask.
This past weekend I met up with the girls and, as always, we had a great time. After lunch, we wandered around the quaint shops at the funky, touristy Fort Langley.
As we tried on hats, browsed candy shops and sampled Lavender Tea, we laughed and we sang and then we laughed some more. And then, it happened again. It is a reoccurring phenomena. We drew the smiles and comments from the people around us who were irresistibly drawn to the joy and laughter. Strangers joked and laughed with us in attempt to capture the feeling for themselves and we, obligingly, shared because the happiness was only magnified as we did so.
It only seems right to share this amazing gift that we have been given and if our laughter can brighten the life of a stranger for even just a few seconds, we are more than happy to share the love.