Reading, Teaching, Learning

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Slice of Life - There Is No Friend Like the Old Friend

I've been participating in Slice of Life, started by Two Writing Teachers.  I love the challenge of composing a piece of writing at least once a week about life or teaching.
 
There is no friend like the old friend, who has shared our morning days,
No greeting like his welcome, no homage like his praise
Fame is the scentless sunflower, with gaudy crown of gold;
But friendship is the breathing rose, with sweets in every fold.
 
- Oliver Wendell Holmes

     How true is that?!  I grew up in Mason, Ohio, and went to the same school district K-12.  Because of that, I made lifelong friends there.  Friends who know everything about me and love me anyway!  We even went to the same college, Miami University, and remained friends there, too, "adopting" two more into our friendship fold.  When my family and I moved to Pittsburgh in 1999, it was bittersweet.  It was bitter because I was leaving my parents, my in-laws, and my best friends.  It was sweet, though, because it was exciting to experience a new city and broaden our horizons.  Fortunately, it only strengthened our old friendships because it allowed for extended visits, and my friend in State College was closer and could join us more often.  I made new, wonderful friends in Pittsburgh, but there no friends like my old friends!  In 2000, we decided to start a girlfriends' weekend summer getaway to make sure we spent plenty of time together.  I researched some places that were conducive to what we wanted (spa treatments, kitchen, a central place to get together, restaurants, things to do, enough bathrooms) and found Nemacolin.  It was perfect for the five of us, and we even fit in cultural field trips - seeing Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob.  One year there we even "allowed" Karan's baby to come along. That baby is now 12!
 
     Fourteen years later, we still carve out a weekend every summer to get together even though I've moved back to my childhood stomping grounds, just a town over.  Our weekend has extended to include more days since we decided two nights was just not enough.  We've also changed locations.  Now we're going to Niagara-on-the-Lake, a beautiful, quaint, historical town in Canada.  Our field trips there have included Niagara Falls, canals, shops, the Butterfly Conservatory, and wineries.  The field trips are secondary, though, to laughing, talking, and sometimes crying together.  We plan on going back there again next year even though the beautiful 1825 house we've stayed in is being sold.  We found another one and are excited to explore a new section of town from there. 
 
     Another important aspect of those summer weekends is books.  We read Nancy Horan's Loving Frank when we saw Wright's houses.  I've given books that I loved as gifts some years.  This year, I gave everyone Will Schwalbe's End of Your Life Book Club because I just wanted to talk about it!  My friend, Jill, has a birthday that falls on some years during the girlfriends' weekend, and I've given her Rebecca Wells's Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Anne Lamott's Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith. Another year, I gave different books to each friend which included Lisa Genova's Still Alice, Pat Conroy's South of Broad, and Nora Ephron's I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections and I Feel Bad About My Neck.  Several years ago, I started choosing a read aloud to read on the way home.  I've read Meg Rosoff's How I Live Now, Ann Patchett's State of Wonder, John Green's The Fault in our Stars, and after a few Twitter conversations, I chose Eliot Schrefer's Endangered for this year.  I love that The Fault in our Stars was just awarded this year's Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award for Young Adult Fiction and Endangered was a finalist for the same award!
 
     As this summer closes quickly, I am so thankful that my friendships with these four amazing women is a slice of my life.  In another blog post some day, I'll write about our Friends' Thanksgiving weekends, another tradition with the same group of friends.  I feel very blessed that I have old friends who are my breathing roses!
    
 
    

 


 
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10 comments:

  1. What a fabulous tradition! My brain was whirling with places to go with my own group of friends. Thanks!

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    1. I thought the Choice Literacy Retreat spot in Ohio was awesome for a possible future place - the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls!

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  2. This is beautiful, Holly! I love the quote you open with, and the photos you share at the end. I love that you share books and holidays. Old friends are so special!

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  3. Friends like these make life worth living, Holly! What special friendships indeed.

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  4. Bravo for keeping those friendships growing stronger! I love that you also connected with books! (Thanks for some titles for me to check out too!)

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    1. It is very fun that we're all readers and can connect on that level, too! :-)

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  5. Hubby and I are thinking of going to Niagara on the Lake. What are your recommendations on where to stay and eat? (We live north of Toronto and normally go to Buffalo - no Kohls/ Red Robin in Canada!)

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    1. Oh, it's SO fun! Unfortunately, the 1825 house we usually stay in is for sale, but it still may be available for you. It's called Grace House. It may be a little big for just a couple, though. ;-) The hotels along that main road in town are all gorgeous. We enjoyed eating at a couple wineries this time- Ravine and Strewn (Strewn has GREAT middle-priced wines!). Our fav winery is Colaneri - ask for Pam. ;-) We also love Konzelman, Jackson-Triggs, and Inniskillin wineries. Have fun! It's a wonderful area!

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