I believe we have many blessings in life. We have inspiring artwork and magnificent music. There are wonderful sunsets, and I’m told, wonderful sunrises, not that I would know. I adhere to my mother’s belief. She always said, “I don’t give a hoot for the sunrise, but the sunset is a totally different matter.”

We have wonderful books and movies that give us time to ponder and reflect. We have children and grandchildren who give us love and laughter. But in latter years, I think there is another blessing and that is old friends. At this time in my life, I use the term “old” in two ways. I have friends who are old in years and old in years with me. I rejoice in both meanings.

I actually talk on the phone with my friends. Yes, the actual phone, not email, texting, tweeting or looking at Facebook. That is not to say that we don’t also communicate using those methods and have even been known to use Facetime. But sometimes, just sometimes, you just need to make a cup of tea and call an old friend.

I am blessed with friends from many past lives: high school, college, work, neighbors. I even have friends from second grade. With college friends, I talk about the latest edition of our college alumni magazine and how all of a sudden we look more at the obituaries than at the class news. With other friends, our conversation touches upon acquaintances we have seen and how they were doing. We have the usual “organ recitals”: Who has had surgery and who has had a knee replacement. We allow five minutes to talk about grandchildren. If it’s a newborn, you might get 10 minutes.

But then, we talk about books and movies we have just seen. We segue into volunteer assignments in our retirement years. How is your tutoring going? How is my consulting going?

However, I am always truly moved by the underlying theme of our conversation: the connections between our conversation today and our conversations of many years past. How is it possible to not see someone for a year, and pick up the phone and feel that time has stood still? My friends still sound the same, and blessings abound, they still laugh the same way.

I have friends who remember all the very wild and crazy things I did in college and amazingly, still love me. Some were bridesmaids at my wedding. Some sent christening presents to my children. Every one helped me through the loss of my parents with their letters and kindnesses and very presence. And best of all, they answer the phone, their real voice to my real voice, year after year. Such a gift.

I am beginning to think that the blessings of growing older increase in direct proportion to friendships accrued in the past. How blessed am I.

— Special to the Telegram

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