I don’t particularly like talking on the phone, but I’ve had to develop a tolerance since that’s the main way we keep in touch with old friends and family. There’s email, too (which I suppose, being the tongue-tied sort, I prefer) but I do like the immediate response—the give and take—of a phone conversation. Of course, we do visit each other from time to time, but time and/or money are often short.
My old friend Kevin called last week. We’ve known each other for 34 years now. I actually met him fleetingly when I was a teenager and he played a folk concert in our town. I went up afterwards to tell him that I loved the way he sang the shaped-note hymn, Devotion. It was a pleasant conversation, but I never dreamed we’d become close friends years later when he came as a North Carolina Artist-in-Residence to our small community near the Pamlico Sound. We had a mutual love of yard ornaments, with a particular penchant for anthropomorphized frogs, so spent many happy hours driving in the countryside there where yard ornaments adorned almost every yard.
It had been a while since we talked, so I was especially glad to hear from him. We both love corny jokes, and he always manages to make me laugh. This time, he told me about his upcoming retirement from the library (he’s now a librarian), what was blooming at his house, and about the two young sisters who often bring him homemade cookies at the library.
It was lovely, and I hung up feeling happy. I value all my friends, old and new, but a friendship that has stood the test of time and distance is special. I am grateful for friends, old and new and for happy phone calls from friends that come out of the blue, often just when you need them.