That One Friend. The Farmer.
Everyone has one. That one friend. The one you’ve known forever. The one who knows all your secrets. Don’t get me wrong, I have some tight girlfriends-some that date back to grade school-but then there’s that one friend.
I met mine at 19 when we were assigned the same dorm room. We were quite different, from different backgrounds but it clicked. We began an adventure that will soon mark over 40 years-as we both prepare to turn 60.
Here are some memorable milestones. At least the ones I’m willing to share.
~We lived, studied, and played in one of the coolest cities in the country. We were young. We were hanging out on South Beach before it was South Beach. Lucky us.
~She met her husband when she took me out to dinner on my 21st birthday.
~I was in her wedding-a gorgeous traditional wedding when she was 22. I married much later, and she was my maid of honor-my only attendant. I was 36, in a small chapel, and had my reception at my home.
~She has two beautiful girls that I was fortunate enough to get to be a part of their lives. Now they have babies of their own. She was there to help me pick up the pieces after a couple of early miscarriages and the realization that I would not be having children of my own.
~I moved away and sometimes we would go months without talking, but when we did it was as if we’d spoken just yesterday.
~We share a love of dogs. She, an Interior Design Major, now has a farm in South Florida. She has rescued countless dogs that wander onto that farm-some of whom I have fostered and one who now lives with me. Her oldest daughter is responsible for my second failed foster now comfortably living at the Whitmore residence. Sorry, Brad.
~When my dad died, she was at my house the next day. I visited her father this past Christmas. He was the man who took us out to dinner when we were in school and always sent Perugina chocolates. He doesn’t recognize me anymore, but he lights up when he sees my friend. I light up when I see my friend, too.
~I’ve known her long before I met my husband. Lucky for me our husbands got on well and are great friends.
~When I was living away and we would reunite, we always made a toast to “Miami” as that’s where it all began. Now we toast to things like our health! As that big 6-0 approaches, we no longer go months without speaking-maybe a week. And we have made a point to get together at least once a month. It’s only a car ride away.
I cherish my relationship with my friend-I respect it, nurture it, hold it near my heart always. I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world to have met her. Thank you to whoever assigned Cathy to my dorm room at Bauder Fashion College in 1979 in Miami Florida.
We met Stacey in our second year. She was a fashion design major and Cathy modeled for her in the Senior Fashion Show. She too was from a very different background, but we all clicked and so began our journey.
My first dwelling after school was a swanky little place off Biscayne Blvd near the Miami Herald Building. Stacey, her sister Dee, me and my sister Liz. Small town girls in a big, big city. When my sister Liz died at 26, Stacey and Cathy were very much there for me. Such sadness so early on but deep friendships will carry you through those dark days.
I took to the friendly skies and moved all over the country. Stacey stayed in Miami and eventually ended up in real estate. Whenever I visited, we picked up where we left off and added to our stories. The three of us would raise our glass “to Miami!”
I eventually found my way back to Florida. First Miami, then a quick trip across Alligator Alley, and then to the Space Coast. A good time is had when Stacey and her sister Dee drive up for a weekend get-away - just like old times! It’s not quite South Beach, but we’re not exactly young anymore either!
Our lives have intertwined and wrapped around each other over the years. Like three strands of a braid. Individually strong, even stronger when braided together. Girl power. Friendship. Love.