Monday, March 30, 2015

A Bouquet of Friends

Photo by Marilee Kauffman Drew

If you think of friends as flowers and a collection of friends as a bouquet, you could say that recently I found myself nestled in a gorgeous bouquet.

My friend Roxi moved with her family into the house behind us when we were seven years old, and the seeds of our friendship were planted throughout our years of growing up. These seeds took root in rich soil as we shared childhood pleasures -- flying down the street on our bikes, giggling over hours spent playing the Barbie board game, hanging out at the lake, and licking juice off our hands and arms as we bit into warm, fresh pears on late summer afternoons.

During our young adulthood we were mostly out of touch, but as we raised children we found our lives intersecting again, which was to our relationship like moving a dormant sun-loving plant from a dark corner into the sunlight and watching it grow healthy and beautiful.

Not long ago, Roxi became a grandma, and I received an invitation to a shower for baby Kylie. I was impressed with mama Jamie's gracious spirit as she opened bag after bag of lovely gifts for sweet Kylie. To have been there just to celebrate Kylie would have been enough. But that was really only part of what happened that day.

Roxi and Kylie

Seated around the tables were about thirty women, some quite young and some edging toward retirement and beyond. I knew only a handful of these women yet I found that we all had one thing in common: we all loved Roxi.

Each woman introduced herself to the group, revealing her own unique story of connection to the grandma-of-honor. "I was Roxi's college roommate." "We have gone to productions at the 5th Avenue Theater together for the past twenty-five years." "Roxi and I met when we were in PTA together. She talked me into running for office, and I lost the election! We've been friends ever since!" "I taught school with Roxi in the 70s." "Roxi and I were together the night she met her husband."

I watched Roxi's face as I listened to each woman's story of friendship. She found as much delight in each of us as we all found in her. Though we were speaking, there was a kind of hush in the room. Something quite mysterious was happening as we found ourselves connected to people we'd never seen before, all because of our mutual friend.

We were a collection of flowers gathered into a gorgeous bouquet, a profusion of colors and scents, flowers as different as roses and baby's breath, a stunning arrangement fit for the finest table. Which of us cared if she was the rose or the baby's breath? No one cared; we were simply happy to be part of such a beautiful display.

After the party I said in mock horror, "Roxi, I see I'm not your best friend after all!" Without a moment's pause she smiled and said, "But you are my oldest friend." Ah, dear, loyal Roxi. Today I celebrate you and all the women like you who brighten the world by creating lovely bouquets of friendship.

One of Roxi's floral creations


Unknown said...

What a beautifully written narration of the day. Yes indeed, it was a "one of a kind " garden. I'm happy to be counted as one of those flowers.
Thank you Ginger for such a sweet story.

Ginger Kauffman said...

Cindy, wasn't it fun to see each other after all the years that have passed since high school? I'm so glad we reconnected and got to spend the day with so many lovely ladies.

Joan Husby said...

Wonderful metaphor!

Ginger Kauffman said...

Thank you, Joan. It seemed especially appropriate as Roxi is a floral designer!