The cheerful words from the next bed made my teeth tingle. Fourteen days of this? I asked myself.
I had wondered if our friendship would survive two weeks of being together day and night. Kathy and I had been friends for so long (53 years at that time; 65 now), I did not want anything to come between us.
Our friendship began when I was in second grade, she in third. We walked to school together, stayed awake talking till all hours at sleepovers, attended the same church, and later both worked in the same hospital.
Our paths separated after high school when I moved from Michigan to Kansas City where I met my husband, and Kathy married and moved to Texas. But we kept in touch through correspondence and eventually both ended up back in our home town.
When they moved to Arizona and her husband went ahead to find a job and a house, Kathy and her three boys stayed with us for a week. A few years later, when we made the same move, our family stayed with them for two weeks until we found a house.
It has been said that “small minds discuss people; average minds discuss events; and great minds discuss ideas.” Kathy and I talked about all three—the latest news of family, school and church friends; current events; and our philosophy of life. I remember both of us standing in the aisle of a local discount store loudly discussing the inequities of income tax laws. (I owned a tax business; she worked for the Internal Revenue.) Well read, she always backed up her opinions with facts.
But now our friendship was going to be put to the test. After months of dreaming and planning, we had boarded a plane at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport that would take us to the British Isles for two weeks. Would our friendship survive eating, sleeping, and touring together for this period of time? I had wondered. Now it looked like my fears were warranted.
At the end of the trip when I shared my worries to Kathy, she looked surprised. “Everything went all right, didn’t it?”
“Well,” I replied, “I had my doubts the first morning.” At her puzzled look, I laughed and explained.
We had arrived in London at 10:30 Sunday morning. Wanting to adapt to British time, we managed to stay awake all day, then went to bed in time to get up and meet our tour group at 7 a.m. That night I discovered two new things about my friend: First, she liked to sleep with the windows open—wide open—no matter how cold it was (and London in September is rather chilly).
Second, she is a morning person while I’m definitely a night owl! I get up around 6:00, but don’t wake up until about 7:00. And I don’t use an alarm as I always hear my daughter leaving for work at this time.
Monday morning came. The shrill clang of the alarm was enough to make me jump, but when I heard the jubilant voice from the bed next to me chirp, “Good morning, Lord! What a beautiful day!” I groaned.
Well, I soon discovered I slept better with windows open, and I ended up agreeing with her each morning, “Yes, Lord, it is a beautiful day!” The trip turned out to exceed both our expectations and, if anything, the two weeks together deepened our friendship. We had shared many things together—school days, spiritual experiences, sicknesses and deaths in our families, and just plain being silly with each other—but watching the other 40 other people in our tour group interact with my friend, I saw a side of her I hadn’t seen before and it has made her all the more precious to me.
Thank you, Kathy, for accepting me for what I am, and for being what you are—even at 5:30 in the morning.
Donna Clark Goodrich is a free-lance writer, editor, and proofreader. A native of Jackson, Michigan, she moved to Kansas City, Missouri at the age of 20 to work as secretary to the book editor at the Nazarene Publishing House. Typing a term paper for a seminary student led to her meeting Gary Goodrich, whom she married in 1960. Now residents of Mesa, Arizona, they have three children and two granddaughters. Donna began the annual Arizona Christian Writers Seminar in 1982 which she led for seven years. She has also been instrumental in helping to form Christian writers clubs in many cities. The author of 22 books and over 700 articles and short stories, she is a frequent instructor at Christian writers conferences across the United States. Her greatest love is working with beginning writers and helping them to spread the gospel through the printed page.
Donna’s newest books are: Healing in God’s Time, the story of gospel songwriter Dave Clark who has had 25 songs reach number 1 on the charts (including “Crucified with Christ” and “Mercy Said No”) and A Step in the Write Direction—the Complete How-to Book for Christian Writers.
Do you have a windows-wide-open, 5:30 a.m. friend? One who can teach you how to enjoy life in a brand new way? Do you have a similar girlfriend story to share?
I’m so thankful Donna shared her sweet girlfriend story here in my little space in cyberspace. I’d love to share part of my week with you. Click here to subscribe and join me for a journey that may look much like your own.