Old Friends


" THE CANARIES " - CANDY, PHYLLIS, ANNE, LETA - 30 years later



This post really has nothing to do with animal communication or animals, but 30 years ago someone did dub me and 3 of my friends the “canaries,” because we chirped so incessantly when together.

We are a foursome who used to meet at least once a week to compare notes on life, babies, jobs, husbands, and … hair. Hair always came first, perhaps to table the more serious matters of life and focus on fun and frivolous doings. “When did you cut your hair?!” or “Oh, I LOVE your hair that color!” were typical of frequently and enthusiastically spouted exclamations when we would come together at a local bar, restaurant, or in one of our homes. Even if somebody had just gone through a divorce, hair was usually the first topic covered. Kind of embarrassing to admit now, but it was just part of our culture at that time. In fact I now have an acronym to describe us, based on our names: Candy, Leta, Anne, Phyllis:  CLAP … or … “Canaries Laugh and Play!” That’s what we did, to the hilt.

One of us in this picture now has cancer, a very serious form of Stage IV cancer, so this past week all four of us reunited for the first time  in at least 30 years. I flew in from out of state. Another drove five hours to reach our destination. Blessedly, my brother had offered his spa-like, six-acre property on the lakefront for the 48 hours we would be spending together, so we came together in what was literally an unreal Shangri-la setting — perfect for CLAP-type fun and frivolity!

From our first breath, the chemistry was the same – pure magic. And yes, we checked out each other’s hair first thing. The cancer topic could wait.

It’s funny how you can go through life and have many circles of friends, each one special and filling a certain time and purpose. But each is unique, and none can take the place of another.

That’s how this felt. Three decades, divorces, children, and grandchildren made no difference. Everything felt exactly the same and the group’s dynamic was identical to its earlier self. We cooked, we drank (tho’ not nearly like we used to!), we walked, we meditated. And we finally, on the last morning, picked apart the illness that was surely taking one of us away before her time and before anyone was ready.

I won’t tell you which person in this picture has cancer, and I’ll bet if you guessed you’d guess wrong. It doesn’t matter anyway. Where one of us goes, we all go. What one of us feels, we all feel. That is how close friends are, no matter how much space or time may separate us.

There was a lot of laughter, all the news, and no tears until we said goodbye. The knowledge that we might not meet again in this lifetime as the canaries was, admittedly, a little hard to swallow.

I used to have canaries. I adore their joyful singing. I am considering getting another now, as I know its daily song would remind me of this special group and of our treasured, irreplaceable bond.

Here’s to our dear friends, and may we all remember to keep laughing and playing!

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    This post was mentioned on Twitter by gozencowgirl: Old Friends http://bit.ly/1B5dfh

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