by Tammy Surline
Everyone is probably expecting and yet dreading an article about Valentine’s Day. Well we’re in the business of pleasing patrons, so no Valentine’s Day. But the impending holiday did get me thinking about relationships. No more impressive bond exists than that between women friends. Probably because our fair sex is often credited with not getting along very well in enclosed spaces for too long. My favorite official definition of a friend is “a person known well to another and regarded with liking, affection, and loyalty; an intimate, an ally in a fight or cause; a supporter”. The best of friends are those people we can talk to about everything (even some things we shouldn’t) or nothing.
After my latest viewing of “The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” and reading a book entitled “The Wednesday Sisters” by Mae Waite Clayton (both of which can be found at the Rock Springs Library), memories of a dear friend came calling again. Sometimes we can’t recall what exactly brought us together, but we know it was significant. Thus was the case with my friend, Mary. We haven’t been in each others daily lives for almost a quarter-century now. That was when she left to be a nun in a cloister convent. We were inseparable practical jokers back then, so it was difficult to figure how my undying friend was going to last in the convent. Her devotion to God was never the question, just her off-beat personality fitting in the placid and pious atmosphere of the Carmelite Order.
Recently I dreamed of Mary. In my slumber-enduced tale, she was having a conversation with the Mother Superior. It went something like this.
MOTHER: Sister Mary, have you said your Hail Marys today?
MOTHER: Pardon me?
MARY: I mean not yet, Mother. I was in the kitchen looking for some tea bags.
MOTHER: You know we don’t have tea until 4:00, after our late afternoon prayers, My Dear.
MARY: Oh, I wasn’t having tea. The tea bags were going to go inside the shower heads in the south wing bathroom.
MOTHER: What on earth for?
MARY: Sister Margaret stole all my socks last week and tied them together. I thought I’d get back at her tomorrow morning when she wants to take a hot shower.
MOTHER: Sister Mary, Sister Margaret took those socks to finish the blanket she was making for the orphanage. You had forgotten to make your donation.
MARY: Well, pooh!
MOTHER: Let’s just stick to business, shall we? And about that snowman on the front lawn. It really isn’t appropriate, My Child.
MARY: What seems to be the problem?
MOTHER: The black coat and priest’s collar reflect badly on the attitude of our Order, Sister.
MARY: Well, I just wanted to liven up things around here a little. It’s really been somber since that water balloon incident with Sister Ann-Katherine last Tuesday. It was an accident, you know.
MOTHER: Sister Mary, really! Father O’Flannigan didn’t need a demonstration of those creative baptismal methods you came up with.
MARY: I just want us all to enjoy life.
MOTHER: All right, My Child. Maybe after choir we’ll all go out and make angels in the snow. At least we’ll be sticking with the theme of our mission.
MARY: Great! I also have some new tune suggestions for the Day of Ascension. Perhaps Sister Augustine would like to hear them at choir today.
MOTHER: What might those songs be, Dear?
MARY: I thought we could sing “Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your eyes”.
MOTHER: Oh, Father, forgive her.
The sound of Mary’s signature breathless laughter awakened me. Mary writes to me every Christmas and Easter as her Order allows, and she tells me of her on-going hijinks. I am proud to count Mary as one of my dearest friends to this day. It’s important to hold our friends close to our hearts and treasure every moment like a memory.
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” - C. S. Lewis
“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” – Mark Twain