Sunday, September 11, 2005

Bittersweet stories...

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Gwyn and Jul do the winery circuit

Growing up, I heard my share of "momisms." One that I heard throughout my teenage years, particularly when I started a job along with everything else, was "You shouldn't bite off more than you can chew." Like I said, a momism, one I ignored much of the time.

That particular momism seemed to haunt my weekend just past, though. Some time back, I received a call from the pastor of a nearby church about doing storytelling for their Sunday School kickoff service. I hadn't had a call for a paying gig in a long time, and was starting to frankly feel like maybe, just maybe, I wasn't a Real Storyteller after all. So when I got this call, I was thrilled, and accepted. It would be a fun program to plan, one revolving around gifts. I tossed around lots of different stories over the following weeks, trying them on for fit. It was fun.

Then the weekend came crashing in before I knew it. I've been back to work now for two weeks, so that jarred me a bit. My son is in the thick of soccer season, another draw on my time and honestly, my ability to remember small details.

It's those details that escaped me. You see, I would be heading four hours away on Friday for the conference planning board meeting of Northlands Storytelling Network. I told my fellow board members I'd just have to leave by 6pm Saturday, so I could be home and ready for the storytelling gig this morning. Running through the last bits of business at auctioneer pace as the clock approached 6, we finished with most of the business that needed to be recorded by the secretary--me. I got my hugs from all my friends before heading off on the road, feeling sorry for myself. Why? Well, anytime I get together with these folks it's a party, but the day was given over to work. The real fun would be starting about the time I hit Janesville, and I was wishing at that point I'd allowed myself to go a bit longer without a paying gig. It would be okay, I told myself. November and the next board meeting isn't that far off.

Arriving home late last night, my husband said, "Julie was wondering about your home-cooked meal you promised them."

Oh no.

That's right, this was the same weekend our good friends Jon and Julie were in town for the dedication of the new church addition. I'd offered a home-cooked meal Saturday night, totally forgetting I'd be getting into town late. My husband and our friends had a great evening over dinner, laughing and sharing stories, along with the meal.

I missed that, too. No time with my storytelling friends, no time with my dear friends now of California. Oh, I saw them at church, slipping in halfway through after my storytelling gig, just in time to hear Jon preach. That was bittersweet, too. Of course on my visits to California I can hear him, but it's not the same as those ten years he was preaching the word here, instead of in St. Helena. The church was packed for the occasion, people I haven't seen in months--or ever--were there. I was able to offer my dorkness as excuse, and of course being great friends, they completely understood. We'd been together just a month or two ago in Madison, and they'll be back.

My husband has even agreed that maybe, just maybe, he'll brave air flight with me on my next visit to Napa Valley. Good friends are too important to dismiss. I know. I had to more or less dismiss two different groups of friends this weekend. I'm thankful that the storytelling gig was such a pleasant one, or it would have been a weekend even more bittersweet than it already was.

Here's to good friends, whether they're storyteller friends, or friends so intentional, the friendship is fast and strong, in spite of 2200 miles and three and a half years separation.


At 7:07 PM, Anonymous Sophia said...

Having no sisters, my friends become my family, more often than not. You're so right! there's nothing like good friends!

At 3:34 PM, Blogger ~Kathryn~ said...

how lovely you got to see Julie !! I'm deciding if i should hop on a plane on Friday and surprise Melanie who moved 2 years ago now - when we talk - its like only a day or two have passed - friendship is a wonderful thing


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