Oh, where have all of our ole girl friends gone?
Alice, Bernice, Bertha, Bessie, Blanche, Edith, Effie, Ethel, Grace, Goldie, Helen, Ione, Laura, Lee, Lucia, Josie, Marie, Minnie, Shirley, Stella, Viola and a few others we can picture in our mind, but sorrowfully have forgotten their names. We miss them so.
No, we were never Don Juan, but rather a tall, skinny kid with a big grin and Brylcreem slicked-back pompadour who wore cowboy boots and a dirty white apron while carrying groceries to cars and delivering them to home kitchens twice a day.
No, these weren’t glamorous, young women of the town, but rather all 60 and over, with a couple of the ladies even in their 90s. They were our regular grocery store customers and our very best of friends.
Some of the ladies we saw daily, and all of them we’d see at least once a week. Our brief encounter as we smilingly opened their back door with a small sack of groceries was sometimes the only person they would see in the week. They often anticipated our arrival with an open door and a welcoming grin. Conversation was always short but pleasant.
“Hi Frankie,” was the typical greeting, but one called us Butch, another Petey and another referred to us as Handsome. “Thank you, call again,” we’d holler with a smile as we dashed away for the next delivery.
Each one had their own personal uniqueness which drew our favor. A couple were excellent bakers and occasionally provided us with a fresh dinner roll or buttered slice of bread right out of the oven. Others would surprise us with a treat or a cool drink on a hot summer day when we least expected it.
Our services were always free, but there were a couple of customers who insisted on paying us. We always tried to refuse it, but inwardly liked the dimes or quarter they slipped into our hand.
Christmas season always brought us many gifts of candies and other home-made goodies. Several friends even gave us extra special packages, and we still have the sweater and Christmas stocking knitted by a couple of those favorite ladies.
It’s been five decades since we’ve seen some of these lady friends, but they each retain a special place in our heart. Interestingly, we’ve recalled every one of them at some point in recent times. And certain ones, for whatever the reason, we think of quite frequently. Certainly, patronage can make friendships, and friendships do last a lifetime.
We are reassured of that in Proverbs 22:11: “God loves the pure-hearted and well-spoken; good people delight in their friendship.” Likewise, in Proverbs 27:9: “A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.”