It was my 50th birthday. And, as it is every year – a chilly December day. My long time friend, Suzy, was taking me to lunch. A special treat we share each year. Seems we women love to eat when celebrating special occasions. No complaints here!
Suzy chose a lovely restaurant adjoining the historic, and still functioning, train station, here in Portland. Just the environment filled me with those childhood nostalgic memories of when my grandparents would come visit by train. The large echoing lobby, filled with passengers and others waiting for arrivals and departures, captured our childish curiosities. Even the time we were allowed to join our departing grandparents on board, my little mind worried the train would leave before we got off!
I hadn’t been to the particular restaurant Suzy chose – ever. It was a quiet, cozy place for lunch and comfortable for our visiting. The menu is long forgotten. It was her gift I remember and cherish.
Handing me a wrapped package, she says, “Now you can write that book.” A soft leather bound journal. It’s warm deep red color beckoned me to fill the pages almost immediately. Inside the same package, a box, the perfect pen set. A writer must have the right pen. A good friend of a writer understands this.
She knew me back-when…she knew me now .
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years – a friend just knows. A friend in the form of a kindred spirit, or a daughter who grows up to surprise her mother that same birthday.
From thousands of miles away, in Central Asia, my middle daughter, Rachel, arranged to commemorate this same milestone with a gift beyond words – a fountain pen – because she saw something in her mother that stuck. I hadn’t mastered calligraphy. Yet, my daughter knew somehow this pen would give new pleasure in creating words on paper. She was right. Another affirmation…to write.
The pen makes all the difference to a writer. And, a writer can spot a good pen within moments. It’s all about the ink, how the tip is smooth and swift. It feels just right in the hand and there’s something about how the message from the brain makes it’s way to paper. When the pen fits, and the ink flows easily, the thoughts communicate magically to the page.
While interviewing a young woman some time ago, she noticed my pen as I was making notes. She commented about the make of my instrument, while pulling out her own favorite writing tool. We giggled as we immediately began discussing what we wrote about and why we enjoyed the craft. An instant bond – and it only took a pen.
With this new treasured writing book in hand, it was important to take my time as to what would fill these fresh pages.
And so…it began…10 years ago…
A remembrance of women who impacted my life past and present.
Girlfriends. Acquaintances. Mentors, daughters, and random encounters. I was astounded what surfaced the more I wrote.
From the black-and-white days of childhood through this now sixth decade, a pattern develops. It is like unwrapping a new gift with each entry. My pen giving witness to each individual.
A beautiful mosaic of relationship blending with my own…
Some, only brief moments in time, some…well…nearly a lifetime. Friends I thought long forgotten. Others I didn’t realize were friends until their unexpected story found a place in my book.
Thank you, Suzy and Rachel, for showing me the blessing if friendship.
Did you have a friend pop in your head while reading this post? Please share in the comments, I’d love to hear your story.