I'd like to know who could hear a funny name like yours and not twist around in her seat to see who has it!
You said when you saw me turn around to look at you like that you thought I was pretty funny too.
Remember the time you sneaked me into your house right by your grandfather sleeping on the porch? He was snoring and he stopped all of a sudden, kind of like 'ukkkkk, uk!' We thought we were done, but he just turned his head a little and went on snoring. Phew!
He had 'the palsy', I remember, and your folks didn't allow you to have anyone over. They tried to keep the house quiet for him.
I was so afraid of your mom when she came upstairs and found us. She didn't yell or anything, but that look she gave us sent me scooting. Then when we were outside (out the back way), she gave me a glass of lemonade. That was it, I knew we were okay. Oh, the fun we had that day and all the times after that!
I remember when we graduated in '43. We were secretly disappointed that we didn't get flower corsages. (I'm so glad you admitted to that - I always felt so unpatriotic until you said how you felt.) Even so we both knew the war bond stamp corsages were so meaningful - we were glad to support our 'boys'.
My Ben and your Jim were the best of all, though. We wrote and wrote and wrote and they wrote back, when they could. Jim got bitten by a scorpion in India and Ben parachuted over the Indian Ocean. It all sounded so thrilling and exotic and dangerous. We exchanged stories and hugs and tears.
Afterward, it was so good to see Jim again, I was so happy for you.
What would I have done without you when they told me about Ben? He was really brave, wasn't he? Oh, I cried for months. You and Jim decided not to get married. You said you couldn't, you wouldn't do that to me. You were the best and that's why I couldn't let you miss out on something like marrying Jim.
But Jim took you farther and farther away from the old city, our city and me. I didn't drive. It wasn't practical or necessary. I worked at the garment factory and played the organ at church. I lived in the home where I was born on the South side. I could walk or take the bus anywhere I needed to go -anywhere except to see you.
We became expert letter writers though, didn't we? Mrs. Garnes from Deisher School would have been proud!
Jim tried to teach you to drive and you were getting the hang of it. (I would have loved to see the way you jarred and bumped along getting used to the clutch, you described it so well in your letter!) You never did go for your test though because baby number three came along. That was Sally, wasn't it?
Jim's passing was too early. What could I do to comfort you, so far away? Yet, you said I did comfort you in ways I'd never know. You're too kind.
Your kids did the most wonderful thing then about five years later. They contacted me and came and got me so that we could spend your birthday together. Oh, that was swell! I don't know when I talked and laughed and remembered the old times so much!
Then, they'd get us together at least once a year. I loved the ferry ride across the river to see the Aquarium. Why the fish swam right over our heads! If my Ben could have seen that! But we saw it - for him - together.
Fourteen years ago the Lord came for you. I have missed you, girl with the funny name. I have been so enriched by knowing you. Have you missed me?
And now it's my turn. You know, I'm not afraid, I'm excited. It's going to be the greatest thing ever to see Jesus. Thank you God for your unfathomable love in sending Jesus.
And then when I get the chance I'm going to listen for your funny, wonderful name. This time I won't twist around or stare. I just want to throw my arms around you, my dearest friend.
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