My best friends are nearly all in their late 70s and early 80s. My inner circle looks like a Geritol commercial, FFS. They all grew up when my parents did, but our age differences add a richness to our experiences. We feel like family. The good kind of family.
We step up and step in for each other, we seek one another’s wisdom, and rely on each other for early morning drop-offs at the airport. For a civilized midday meal in good company to talk books and to swill vast quantities of wine. For helpful and honest feedback on the pages often tentatively offered up for critique. For constantly rescuing me, for cheering me on, for pushing me forward, for celebrating, and for mourning with me. For allowing me to just be myself. For providing sanctuary and wise counsel, for having all the sports channels and for loving pizza and beer.
It’s been a rough couple of years, and I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to write that all of my elders, my wise women, my friends came through. We have weathered this storm so far, to this sliver of land for a moment. We have problem-solved, Zoomed, healed from all sorts of maladies, most of them pretty damn serious, too. Prayed for one another, listened, helped, hawked my personal belongings to strangers for top dollar at my garage sale. Fed each other. Waved goodbye and hugged hello.
Two of my friends have this print in their living room, of four dogs sitting, forward-facing all, in a red rowboat. One dog, rope in her mouth, swims in front, pulling her friends in their boat, called Friendship.
We often laugh and remark on this print. How life imitates art. I am the dog with the rope in her mouth. I am pulling my boatful of elders. And they are sustaining me.