An Ode to Friends

By: Emma Johnston

When I was in my early teens I was given the same advice on multiple occasions “don’t worry too much about your friends, your friends from childhood never stay.” “you’ll meet all your best friends in University.” ”No-one stays in contact with the people they grew up with.” At the heart of this advice there was probably a lot of truth and most likely personal experience. For so many – elementary school and then high school come and go, the friends, the boyfriends/girl friends, teachers they are part of your life for a few short years and then they simply float from our realm of interaction. However, I have begun to suspect that there might be something a little strange about our neck of the woods in and around Burford. That here, for whatever reason, people seem to either stay, or leave and then come back. That many of the teachers I had in elementary school I still see as I wander through the grocery store. That those kids who sat with me in elementary school now have children who sit beside my own at class time. I have seen, with a continued element of surprise the people and friends who shaped who I was as a child and teen, continuing to play an active role in my life today.

I see people I went to school with at the Fish Fry and in the park. I see them starting businesses and dropping off their kids at school. The friends that slept over at my house in grade seven sleep in their own homes only a few houses away from mine. The friends who went on holiday with my family in high school are telling me about their grown-up family vacations today. Maybe Burford and area (because some are from Princeton, Scotland and Harley) is the anomaly, maybe it’s just something in the water around here, but as I continue to grow and learn and mature I have realized more and more the value of incredible friendships. How, despite the amazing friends I have met since I reached adulthood, my childhood friends, those kids who have grown up to be fully responsible men and women are still so fabulously important to me.

So, this is a shout out to great friends. Whether yours have known you since kindergarten, or just moved in across the street, whether they are older than you or younger than you, whether they live here in town or half way across the world, a good friend is something I value more than I ever knew I would.

Cheers to good friends;

Cheers to the good friends who are genuinely only a call, text or visit away. That no matter what chaos or destruction I have got myself into, I can turn to them and they’ll be that listening, praying or supportive ear. Thank you to my listening friends.

Cheers to the good friends who stay up late or get up early. When I have sleepless nights, when I’m bored or lonely or just want to chat, I can count on these sleepless friends to talk to. Friends who stay awake all hours of the night like I do, willing to gab at midnight if we both happen to be awake at that time. Thank you to my wakeful friends.

Cheers to the friends who take care of me. I’m reasonably responsible most of the time, I go to work, do the laundry, make sure my children are fed, clothed and bathed, but on occasion I need taking care of too. I am so thankful to those friends who check in on me, help keep me

organized, remind me about PA Days and field trips and about packing extra water on really hot days. Thank you to my organized and responsible friends.

Cheers to the fun friends who are always up for a party, a dinner or a campfire.

Cheers to the intellectual friends who push me to think harder, expand my mind and grow in who I am.

Cheers to the gentle friends, who remind me that a peaceful spirit is contagious.

Cheers to my adventurous friends, the faithful friends, the familiar friends.

May we all have people like this in our lives, good friends, great friends, friends that make us better and fill us with joy. Old or new, Cheers to great people who make up our circles.

To those friends who have been these things to me for the past twenty years or so – an extra big Cheers to you – we never out grew each other, forgot each other or let time, distance or circumstance come between us. To you, my dear friends of old, cheers, and my apologies, there’s no getting rid of me now!

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