True Friends

It has been a trying time but the one thing that has made it all better has been the laughter (and tears) that I have shared with family and friends. It has been gratifying to learn that I have people I can really count on in my life (I feel like a loner most of the time).

From doing unsavory chores like mucking stalls to cleaning my dog’s blood off the concrete last night (just a flesh wound!), my terrific unit of supporters has gotten me (and us) through the worst of times.

The biggest and best surprise in all this was when my very best friend from childhood, Camille, messaged me that she was coming to the funeral. I immediately invited her to stay at my daughter Amber’s house, although I knew beds would be scarce. The real kicker? We had not seen each other in 40 years. Really.

20140814-185411.jpgThat is Camille in the blue jacket and I in the yellow.  That is one ugly little cat but I didn’t think so at the time.

Camille and I were back lot neighbors. She  lived in the house up the hill from me.  We did everything together from ice skating miles and miles down Salt Creek, building tree houses and forts and riding any horse we could.

My dad rigged some way for us to go to horse camp in Wisconsin supposedly as sisters.  Here is an awesome picture of the two of us dressed as Native Americans huddling over the camp dog (of course!).

I am in the blue leotard.  What great costumes!

I am in the blue leotard. What great costumes!

We ran free most of the time. Spending winters sledding and ice skating and the summers swimming and riding. It was a great way to grow up.  We had some usual (unusual) parent angst but got through it all.  College Camille headed east and me, west, back to Colorado.  Although sporadically in touch, we had not seen each other in all these years.

I think my daughters were a little panic-stricken when I casually let them know some stranger was spending several days with us.  As we discussed where everyone would sleep, they kept calling Camille, “your friend”.  I would correct them with her name, which they didn’t remember and kept calling her “Clarice” in that tone that Anthony Hopkins uses in Silence of the Lambs.  Amber told me, no offense, but a random stranger was not sleeping in the room with her son.  I get that.  I think they were all a peeved that I had invited someone into our inner circle.

On Camille’s behalf, as she tells the story, she doesn’t frequently travel.  Her husband was out-of-town and she just decided she was going to go to Denver for the funeral and started making flight arrangements.

Camille and I before the funeral.

Camille and I before the funeral.

The minute she pulled in Amber’s driveway with a big smile and wave, Immediately we were off to see the filly, Betty Sue, and Camille was smashed in the back seat between my suddenly quiet grandkids.

Camille and I chatted like the old friends we were.  My kids loved her and said she was good for me.  We settled the whole sleeping arrangement thing with Camille and I sharing a room just like old times.  Funny how the years fall away.

At the funeral it must have been a little disconcerting to suddenly face my family, my step-sister, her husband and my nephew along with my former brother-in-law Sean, all aged forward 40 years.  How weird would that be?  But I am so glad she came.  I would have never asked and it meant the world to me.

Thanks to all of you who have been so kind in so many ways, my family, my old friends and many new friends who really have stepped up to aid me at a time of grief.  May God Bless you!