Friday, January 21, 2011

Good Friends Are Hard To Find

About twenty years ago, I started working as an elementary school library media specialist. I had worked for years as a public librarian, but this school environment was a whole new ball of wax. I was like a lost ball in the high weeds. And carrying the ball analogy even further, I needed someone to teach me how to play. Not only how to play, but how to play well. Contrary to some antiquated beliefs, librarians today do a whole lot more than just stamp books - we actually have to teach kids how to use a library. The Google Machine aside, at some times you just need to use the library and it's pretty helpful if you know how to do that.

And so Marion came into my life. Marion the Librarian (no, really!) had been teaching for years and had a full life yet she made time to help out a struggling new librarian who was required to have supervision her first year of internship. She kindly offered advice, dried tears when things went wrong, celebrated when things went well, stood up for me to a difficult administrator, spent hours and hours and hours with me patiently helping in every way and constantly, constantly told me I was a shining star who was going to do great.

The first time we went out to dinner together, she insisted on picking up the check. I was a young teacher in a low-paying job who had two young kids at home and a husband who was working as hard as I was to make ends meet. Her picking up the check meant that I could relax and enjoy a meal out. It meant I could just enjoy myself. It meant everything.

She did not have to do as much as she did. She was only required to spend a few hours with me. She gave willingly of much more time than was required and unfailingly had faith in me. She was sweet, kind, encouraging and became a very, very good friend.

She retired years before me but we stayed in touch and she never failed to brag to others how well her "shining star" had done.

When I finally retired, I joined the "retired librarians" group that meets for lunch monthly and we were once again having meals out together.

The other day, the group had lunch and it just happened to fall on my birthday.

When the bills come, Marion insisted on paying for my birthday meal.

Still there for me.

Still bragging about how well I have done, only now it's about my writing career.

Still buying me meals.

Still being the good friend she has been for the past two decades.

If only everyone could have a friend like this.


Granny Annie said...

You have made me realize how blessed I have been to have this kind of friend all my life in the form of my big sister.