Apparently February 2016 was Friendship Month, although, bizarrely, August 7 will be Friendship Day. In any event, I missed realizing all of this because I was busy saying good-bye to a long-time friend Derek Harrington. The send-off was spectacular with days of story-telling and songs. He leaves behind a legacy that most of us would envy – google him and you’ll know.
On the day that he died, I turned 60, and what I found was that in the midst of my mourning I was overwhelmed with greetings from friends to acknowledge my big day. I had phone calls, email notes and facebook messages. The greatest birthday gift was this reminder of how precious my friendships are to me.
Literature is full of great friendships. Just look at Dickens’ writing alone; whether it’s Wilkins Micawber inspiring his young friend David Copperfield with perpetual optimism or Joe Gargery providing his honest and down-to-earth support to Pip through thick and thin, friendships are a vital element of life. They can be complicated (just look at the Sydney Carton- Charles Darnay- Lucie Marnette relationship!) but true friendships enrich life and endure. I remembered that during these past weeks of sorrow and joy.
So – to all of you with whom I’m sharing my journey through life: walking (lunch times at Yonge & St. Clair), cycling (10-speeds through Camp Borden), hitch-hiking (around Ireland), driving (here, there and everywhere), flying, boating, by train, bus and streetcar, skinny-dipping, snow-shoeing, skiing and motor-biking – I thank you for being there. Whether I’ve known you since kindergarten or met you just recently, you enrich my life. The colours and texture that you add have made my tapestry unique and precious. I appreciate the early morning gossip, late night philosophy and all the conversations in between. For the songs, stories, tears and laughter shared and yet to come, I’m grateful. You make sad times better and celebrations more joyful.
Here’s to you; here’s to us.