a few weeks ago i was privileged to attend the annual Scottish Tea that my mom in law and her sisters put on. it's really quite fancy and fun. once a girl from the younger generation has become engaged or married, she is invited to attend. joshs' grandma was actually born in scotland, and her girls have kept her memory alive in making the scottish tea so special. 3 aunties and 4 cousins were there enjoying such treats as empire biscuits, cucumber sandwiches (with the crusts cut off, of course), strawberries dipped in whipped cream, scones with clotted cream and jam or lyle syrup, and let's not forget the tea itself. we all recite the robert burns prayer before we eat (or if, like me we get the cannae's and hae's mixed up, we just fumble along) and then we feast and talk and laugh and cry have a lovely time.
because of my new-motherliness this year, i stayed for the tea, but skipped the shopping and movie and dinner and sleepover bit. however, my sweet mother in law sent me home with meat pies to make for dinner so that we could enjoy at home a bit of what they were enjoying over there.(didn't have any neeps or tatties or even peas, but the pies were delicious all the same) as i was popping those pies in the oven, the phone rang. "hi, heidi, this is julie" the slightly familiar voice said when i answered. it took me only a split second to realize that this was JULIE!!! my long lost friend from years and years ago.
i first met julie in grade one. she and her family had just moved to our town from alaska. i remember the teacher telling us that her parents were missionaries and they had decided to pastor a church nearby. julie had the loooongest brown hair i had ever seen and it ran down her back in an endless braid. i thought that she was quite exotic, being from a whole other country and all, with a bit of an american accent. when the teacher asked the class for a volunteer to show julie around the school, another girl raised her hand. those two became the best of friends and that was that. in grade four, my best friend had moved to another school and so had julie's. i can't recall exactly how we began, but from that year on, we were inseperable. julie really helped me blossom and open up, as i was so painfully shy and she was a bit more of a troublemaker. i had never been much of a tomboy, but julie brought out the adventurous side in me. it wasn't long before she had me swinging from a rope over the creek that ran by her house (i fell in once) and making a fort in an old junkyard. as soon as the first snow fell, one of us would be on the phone with the other, planning when we could go tobogganing down the hills near my house. on rainy days we'd stay indoors and sit on the bed and just read for hours. we were also in the process of writing and illustrating a book about rabbits that were best friends (i was the author and julie was the illustrator) i often went down "across the line" to washington with julie's family and we would go shopping at bellis fair mall, which to me was such a big deal. her family ate chilli and burritos a lot and pronounced mayonnaise like manaise and said "huh?" instead of "pardon?". they were just SOOOO american and i loved it. of course, julie taught me all the words to the star spangled banner.
i can't remember a single fight between us. we never had a crush on the same boy or gossiped behind the other's back. looking back at pictures i can see now that we both went through that pre-adolescent/geeky stage with the same awkwardness, which probably was a good thing since we never got "too cool" for each other. we both lamented the beginning of the necessity of bras and we consoled one another when we each started our period... neither of us were too fond of the idea of growing up. at the end of grade 7, julie's family up and moved to hawaii to take over a church in oahu. it was the most awful feeling to say goodbye. i wrote her a poem that i can still recite from memory today. we cried a lot and, though i visited her that summer, things were just never the same. already, i was becoming absorbed in "how to be cool" as i demonstrated to her how i had learned to french inhale while wearing the shortest cutoffs i owned. letters back and forth became few and far between. after highschool i received a wedding invitation from her, then a picture of a radiant looking bridal couple. a few years later an announcement of her son's birth, and last summer the news that she was pregnant again. this past year we kept in touch more frequently and i was elated to find out that her daughter kendra had been born early, but healthy in november.
that day on the phone we chatted for a long time, mostly about mom stuff, and as we talked all of those years of silence seemed to disappear and it just felt like we had never missed a beat. i think that's the test of true friendship, when you can pick up right where you left off.
thanks for the phone call, lulu. i'm so glad we never let each other completely disappear from one another's life.