my longest friendship

When I was 9 years old, I moved to the United States with my family from Denmark.  I spoke broken English with a thick accent, wore bright green rubber boots every day, and didn’t know the meaning of the word “fart.”

Another girl had just moved to my school and she sat in the same reading class as mine.  She used a pencil that had been sharpened so many times that it was very short, and I was worried about why she did not have a long pencil.  She also had the sweetest smile and kindest face.  She gave me her phone number, I called her, and we had a playdate that involved Barbies and a mini trampoline.

That was how I met Jolene, who has been my devoted friend for almost 25 years.  I owe our keeping-in-touch to her; each time I have moved to a new place without notifying her, she has found me.  At times I am quite sure I have not deserved her devotion and care, but she has given it to me even then. She’s called me and written me and has recognized every single one of the 24 birthdays I have had since 1988.

Today is Jolene’s birthday.  I appreciate and admire her.  She has a strength and persistence that is contagious.  She makes me want to be a better person. She is radiant and beautiful and I love her.  I am grateful she is in my life.

Happy birthday, Jolene!