"There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship." Saint Thomas Aquinas
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Today is one of the happiest days of the year for me for on March 29, 1969, I met my lifelong true friend, Connie.
It isn't often we establish a connection with someone that lasts as long or that strengthens year by year.
I was in our school's student union for some forgotten reason and a mutual friend, Marsha, whose birthday is today, came in with several girlfriends. How many I can't tell you; I was focused on only one.
Her smile melted my heart and when she later agreed to a date I was in a world of bliss.
"Choose a friend as thou dost a wife, till death separate you." William Penn
Forty-one years later we are still best friends. No, we never married each other but I believe the relationship we have is deeper and more trusting that experienced by many spouses.
We have seen each other through personal and family down times and reveled in our victories and accomplishments. That Connie knew my family and that they shared time with her is a gratifying feeling. The photo of her with my two-week-old brother is a priceless one we always mention.
Now, after a career as a corporate executive, my friend is a grade school teacher who enjoys every day in the classroom serving as a positive role model molding the minds of those for whom she is responsible.
We talk often and regularly exchange cards and letters and visits. Each time we're together it seems as if no time at all has passed since our last get-together. We laugh and cry at our achievements and sorrows and we relive the fun times we had together and with our families.
No, we never got married, for whatever reason. Our life situations took her to New Jersey, Mexico then Texas while I left Illinois for Florida, all the while staying in close contact.
Forty-one years. Wow. My friend is as beautiful now as she was then. Her heart is as large as the world. She is intelligent and funny and caring and compassionate.
She remains a true friend and for that I will be forever appreciative.