So, yesterday on my birthday I actually did leave shortly after writing the blog, heading to the other side of the city (and having to go around the long way as, of course, it was SlowUp Sunday… and access on my side of the lake was totally blocked off) to pick up a dear friend who shares my birthday and continue up the lake to a lovely meal in the ever-so-Swiss village of St.Prex.
Looking around at my old friends, oops I mean my friends of long date I realized that I had met three of them the summer I returned to Europe, 41 years ago now.
The blessing of a total of over 120 years of friendship is inestimable. They have been there as I married; as I had my two sons (one is the godmother of both sons… having been raised a Protestant, but needing a godmother for the baptisms we decided that one and the same was great); through my husband’s illness, through his death; still traveling alongside me as they too have had their ups and downs. The only thing that comes close to equalling this type of friendship is that of close family where the memory bank reaches back even further to one’s childhood, but the support and love are the same in both cases. The tears, the laughter, the flipping from one to the other in a space of hours or days: the best of all sisters!
Upon my return (again via the torturous route of all-the-way-around-the-mulberry-bush), I had several telephone conversations and skyped with son #1 as well.
He is currently in Niamey, Niger and guess what? They take my birthday as being very important: it is their Independence Day! But not only is it their Independence Day (from France in 1960), it is also Arbor Day where they plant trees across the nation to fight against desertification.
I come a full circle – on my birthday they plant trees, some of which may end up being used for paper to create the books that I love so much. Not quite sure who to thank yet for the Kindle, but Niger just went up in my esteem.