As they sat in the booth drinking coffee, it was evident that the two of them were taking a walk down memory lane. Laughter rang out incessantly as they told story after story of days gone by.
The topic of conversation? You guessed it—“Remember when?”
Yes, through the years their lives had gone down completely different avenues.
Sara had become a nurse and the medical field was her arena of labor. In the process of time, she had married, had a child, then divorced and was now a single parent. Working with doctors was a very stressful, yet rewarding position, and it was evident that Sara had story after story to share.
Joanie, on the other hand, had chosen the maritime arena. She had worked on a yacht for a rich connoisseur of fine wines, being in charge of the galley and preparation of all meals. They sailed to many countries and met many renowned winery owners, and tasted various kinds of wines in the process. Joanie had learned that wine in some places was imbibed much like the use of water where she grew up. It was quite interesting, to say the least. She had learned that in those instances the drinkers were not alcoholics as was the case in America…they were tasters, they sipped the wines at mealtimes, but didn’t indulge for the purpose of drunkenness.
As she and Sara sat looking across the table at each other, it was evident that the past had taken priority over their fields of labor.
The laughter was contagious, and even though others in the restaurant did not have a clue what was so funny, they could not help but laugh themselves as they watched this twosome enjoying one another’s company with such fervor!
They had a lot of catching up to do and each would interrupt the other at times with, “Remember when…”?
Sara actually started it, “Remember when we were kids, we loved to take the well bucket and try to fish the rain frogs out of the well?”
Joanie laughed out loud and responded, “Yeah, and your Dad gave us both a whipping for it and dared us to ever do it again…which we did when he wasn’t looking!”
“Sure,” Sara exclaimed, “and then there was the Sunday morning we were supposed to go to church, but told Mama we didn’t feel like it; then slipped out to the barn, got the fishing poles and went down to the pasture and proceeded to fish in the mudhole? And suddenly we saw this water moccasin swimming across the water and we took off running fast as we could back to the house!”
Joanie was crying as she laughed so hard, and said, “Yeah, and when you told your Mama, she said, ‘Well, that’s what you get for lying and not going to church! See, the devil was after you’!”
Joanie continued, “And remember when we used to sit on the front porch after mixing Hershey’s cocoa and sugar together and making us some ‘snuff’ like grandma used to dip? We’d fill our front, bottom lip and see who could spit the farthest over the shrubbery! Grandma could spit her snuff farther than anyone either of us had ever seen, right between her pointer and middle finger and never get a drop on either finger!”
“Oh yeah, and remember when I rode you on my bicycle basket down the clay hill and we ended up in the ditch?”
They both were laughing uncontrollably by this time. The waitress walked up and asked them if they cared for more coffee. They both nodded yes, and asked her to bring them some French toast as well.
Then Joanie piped up, “Hey, remember when we were riding your horse, and my brother was running behind us, wanting to ride, and your horse kicked him in the chest? He hit the dirt, and we sailed off the horse, scared to death that my brother was dead?” Both of them grew somber at that point, then Sara replied, “Yeah, but thankfully he was okay…only thing was he carried the print of my horse’s hoof on his chest for quite a while!”
The laughter began again as each took turns asking, “Remember when?” with other scenarios from their past.
For sure there were events that made the laughter turn to tears, not from laughing but from sadness, like “Remember when a school mate was killed in an automobile accident, and a little boy drowned in the swimming lake?”
The sadness was overruled again by Sara asking, “Remember when we had that algebra final exam, and you sat behind me? You didn’t have your compass to draw your graphs, so I drew mine and passed them back to you unbeknownst to the teacher, then when the testing time was over, you kept them and turned them in? You made like a 46 and I made a 23? We begged out of that one,” Sara said laughing and holding her sides.
The waitress returned with fresh coffee and French toast, and the twosome quieted down for a time to refresh themselves.
Needless to say, it was a wonderful time of reminiscing, a time that each needed at this time in their lives.
Sara smiled at Joanie and told her that ‘memories’ were ‘pressed between the pages of her mind’, and the older she got the more precious they became.
Joanie smiled and agreed.
Yes, life had been good to the both of them, and as they finished up their coffee and toast, they agreed that they needed to set aside a ‘season’ at least once a year to meet and have a “Remember when?” session, for old time’s sake.
Having been best friends for a few years during adolescence proved that true friendships may slip away, but they never cease to be.
Sara and Joanie gave each other a high five clasp, and arose to leave.
About that time the waitress returned and instead of handing them their tab for their coffee and French toast, she handed each of them a yellow rose.
Joanie looked quizzical at the waitress, then at Sara.
Sara asked the waitress why she did that.
The waitress replied, “There was someone here who knew the two of you and picked up your tab. She also asked that we give each of you a yellow rose, because she saw and heard the joy and friendship that you shared as you reminisced of days gone by.
It was her way of saying ‘thank you’ for proving that old friendships never die; they continue to bloom with age! And that distance does not have to be a factor in whether love between friends can continue to survive.
She also left this poem and asked me to give it to you with the roses:”
Roses are yellow, like this one I send,
One yellow rose is for my special friend-
It represents feelings that come from the heart,
Feelings that hopefully never depart.
Happiness comes when you find someone who
Shares the same visions and feelings you do-
The crossing of paths has a purpose, you see,
To bring out the best, in you and in me.
Life is a gift that we get from above,
Meant to be shared through friendship and love-
So give me your hand and give me a smile,
Let’s walk down this friendship road all the while!
D. S. Mullis
After they shared the poem, tears filled their eyes and the reality of the changes that life had afforded both of them made their pact even more convincing.
Surely, life is like a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.
As they went their separate ways, Sara and Joanie realized not only the essence of “Remember when?”, but also the necessity of it.
Yes, they would do it again and make it a seasonal event to look forward to!