Like all of you, I am heartbroken over the senseless death of innocent children and adults in Uvalde, Texas. Words are inadequate. Prayers for all of those touched directly by this tragedy. But prayers are not enough. Our country needs to find better answers to this problem. This tragedy occurred while I was traveling in Alabama.
I just spent a wonderful week visiting with life-long friends in Alabama. These are two friends, Pam and Judy, that I have had for a very long time. Judy and I have been friends for 54 years, and Pam and I for 48 years. Since I moved from Alabama in 1981, we have each taken turns traveling from North Carolina to Alabama and Alabama to North Carolina to maintain our relationships. These friends are more family than friends. The distance does mean that we only get together about once a year, which is never enough time.
Mike had a meeting in Atlanta last week, so we decided to make a trip to Alabama while we were close. Mike and I visited with Pam and her husband Butch in Gadsden, Alabama for a couple of days, then he flew home and I stayed behind. Our visit included spending time with soon-to-be 92-year-old Coke Man/Cokee, which are the names daughter Tara gave to Pam’s dad, Coy, who has been like a grandfather to her. We also enjoyed time with Pam and Butch’s grandchildren, 6-year-old Ella Mae, 3- year-old Emma, and 1-year-old Wyatt.
Judy’s house is undergoing major renovation, but we did spend an afternoon visiting with the family, including grandchildren 10-year-old Suzy and 3-year-old Jake, (which I failed to take photos of!) Then Judy and I escaped to Auburn and Birmingham for a few days for our time together. We shopped, went antiquing, and had wonderful meals, then went back to a hotel at the end of each evening, enjoying having no responsibilities. It really did not matter what our days included, other than to be together.
Relationships take time to nurture, and the effort and time are worth it when those involved choose to stay connected. Through the years there were times when it would have been easy to fail to spend the time and effort. But we chose to stay connected instead, and I am so glad that we did. It is so heartwarming to pick up where we left off, telling the same old stories, and reliving the memories of our shared lives.
It has been said that some people are in our lives for a reason, some for a season, and some for a lifetime. These friends are lifetime friends, friends that are actually family.
I hope that you have a Pam and Judy in your life, and that you nurture those relationships. For we never know when we are together for the last time.
Like the 21 people in Uvalde, Texas.