Friendship is one of the most beautiful gifts of life. Whatever would we do without our friends?
Pooh and Piglet set a great example.
“We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ Piglet asked one day. Even longer,’ Pooh answered.”
On another day, Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered. “Yes, Piglet?”
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”
I recently was in the company of several women who are sure of one another and who also will be friends longer than forever. Their bond began in kindergarten in Crookston, Minn., and is as strong as ever these 50-some years later.
There are nine all together in their circle. They come from all around the country and rendezvous at least once a year for a weekend together to catch up on one another’s lives — to reinforce their bond.
About a week, ago, I was blessed to be in the company of four of the nine at Itasca State Park in Minnesota. Gail of Grand Forks, Rebecca of St. Paul, Gloria of Bagley, Minn., and Marsha of Hastings, Minn., welcomed me as if I’d been there since the beginning.
First we had a yummy walleye dinner in Douglas Lodge and then in the rain we moseyed over to the Visitor’s Center to thoroughly enjoy an hour concert by Rebecca whose last name is Lee. Somewhere along her path of life, her late father penned her “Rebby,” and it stuck.
By day, Rebby is a paralegal-investigator for the Minnesota Attorney General and after hours she’s a singer/songwriter/recording artist with the voice of an angel. “I live two lives,” she said. “I love the woods but I live in downtown St. Paul in a high rise where I can see the beautiful sunrises.”
There were a lot of campers at Itasca that weekend and the performance room was filled to capacity. Rebby told us she used to camp with her family at Itasca, and for the past 15 years she’s been coming back to give a concert. All her songs are original and many were inspired by the beauty of Itasca.
As a child, Rebby learned to play violin, drums and piano. In college she also picked up the guitar and now, “songs just fall out of me,” she said.
She sings with such ease and yet passionately and its pure joy to hear her.
Some of her song titles are: Dance of the Norway Pine, Old House (about the Crookston house she grew up in), Staying Afloat, Behind Green Eyes, Be Gentle with My Heart, North Woods, I Love You Anyway.
Perhaps my favorite song that night was a song Rebecca wrote in 2008 titled, “Who Will Care.” She had her beloved late mother in mind when she wrote it. It’s all about growing old.
Among the words:
Don’t you know the world is so cold?
Don’t you know we’re all growing old?
Who will care when you’re mind isn’t there?
Who will care when you don’t know what clothes you should wear?
Who will care?
Who’s going to care when life’s at its end?
Who’s going to care when you need a good friend?
It is a very thought provoking song.
Rebby will be back to Itasca next summer and I hope she’ll have another full house.
Albert Schweitzer once said, “In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those who rekindle the inner spirit.”
I saw a rekindling of spirits among the four that night at Itasca. It’s a beautiful sight to see. If I’m lucky perhaps one day I’ll meet the other five who complete the Crookston hometown circle.