Reading in 1Kings, I came across the council of officials in the court of King Solomon. There were the usual—priests, secretaries, military leaders, head housekeeper, etc. And then, this jumped out at me: “and Zabud…was the king’s friend” (4:5).
A friend. King Solomon had a friend on his council—an individual whom he could trust; someone who would tell Solomon what he needed to hear and not just stroke his ego. This friend was likely a person with whom Solomon discussed business. Maybe they stood on the high wall of Solomon’s palace, overlooking the kingdom, and shared quiet camaraderie. Perhaps on occasion, one would raise his eyebrow in acknowledgement of an inside joke only shared by the two. Whatever they did, Solomon thought it important to have this friend on his council, to keep him close. He needed his friend.
Best friends are important. They keep you grounded, help you learn to laugh at yourself, help you cope with the ups and downs of life. Best friends are honest. They expect the best of you, and they bring out the best in you. Best friends are always there, even if you don’t live close. And the conversations—oh, my, the conversations! We all need someone like that in our lives. The introvert, the unlovely, even the extrovert who surrounds herself with different “levels” of friends needs that one special person to call her best friend.
I began the third grade at a new school. I’m not sure how far into the year I met Vicky, but we became fast friends. We spent the next couple of years hanging out together, while other friends came and went in our lives. I don’t remember us spending the night in each other’s homes at that age, and kids in the 1960’s didn’t have their own phones, so we didn’t spend a lot of time talking outside of school. But we clicked. Our home lives were similar, in that they were both fairly dysfunctional. We shared horror stories about that and knew we were safe in our sharing, because we both “got” it.
My family moved to another state right smack dab in the middle of the 5th grade. I know, right? As I cleaned out my desk, I was crying; and as I turned to leave, I caught Vicky’s eye. She was sad. I didn’t know if I’d ever see her again. One of my suitcases had all my papers, and Vicky’s address was in that suitcase. The suitcase didn’t make it to our new home. I felt like I’d lost a lot.
Less than a year later, we were back in North Carolina (middle of the 6th grade!), but now Vicky was gone! Her family had moved out of town just before we got back. I don’t know how, but I managed to get her address, and we began corresponding. Soon, I was taking bus trips to visit her, and during the summer we spent weeks at each other’s homes.
Vicky has this really great sense of humor, so we spent lots of time laughing. We talked about EVERYTHING. We spent hours sitting beside each other, reading our own books, not even speaking. Our friendship is one of the most comfortable things I ever experienced in my life.
Vicky also kept me on my toes. She was always honest with me. As I said, we discussed everything, and if she didn’t like what she was hearing, she let me know without a shadow of a doubt.
Vicky and I celebrated our high school graduations by spending a week at the beach; and that is all I will say about that week (*wink, wink*). I was a bridesmaid at her wedding. I spent many weekends in the home of her and her husband. She attended my wedding, and her family visited hubby and me in our new home.
Over the years, we either wrote, or called, or—nowadays—Facebooked each other. We still travel to visit with each other, mostly just day trips now. And our conversations just pick right up where we left off.
Vicky had a health scare a few months back. She was very ill and hospitalized for a month. I communicated with her sister and daughter while she recovered. When she was well, I spent the day with her. She was back to her old self, and I was happy to see it. So much of my life is wrapped up in our experiences that I wouldn’t know what to do with myself without her.
I could say so much more about this life-long relationship, but then I’d have to start telling on us, and, well, we aren’t going there! Just let me say, I learned something from that health scare of Vicky’s. I learned that I needed to be sure and let those I love know that I love them as often as I get the chance to say it. I learned that no matter how many other friends one has, that “special” friend cannot be replaced.
This is my tribute to you, Vicky. Thanks for the “normal” you brought to my life as a youth. Thanks for the care you’ve always been faithful to preserve in our relationship. Thanks for making me laugh. Thanks for the many memories we made; and may God allow us to make many more memories. Thanks for all of it. I love you, friend.
*”Meaching Our Riddle Age” is something Vicky said to me one day when we were in our early teens. We were talking about getting older. Vicky said, “Yeah, we’re meaching our riddle age.” We’ve laughed a lot about that over the years. Well, Vicky, I believe we are there…okay, well, maybe a little beyond there.