There is an adage that old friends are the best friends. I've never been entirely sure how to interpret this: does it mean that the attachments you've had for the longest are the greatest or is it referring to the affinity you have with people of a certain, more senior age? It could probably mean either but for me, and for the purpose of today's post, I'm going with the latter.
The beautiful, silver-haired, sparkly-eyed lady on the right is Winnie. She's 85, my neighbour and one of my bestest friends in the whole, wide world. We started chatting over the garden fence, as congenial neighbours do, and before long I found myself in Winnie's living room, sat before a roaring coal fire eating homemade rock buns. Even writing this makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and happy inside! I feel that way every time I hang out with my oldest bestie which is usually on a Tuesday afternoon (because I don't work Tuesday afternoons) and a Sunday evening (we enjoy watching Downtown and Mr Selfridge together.)
Winnie is one of life's pure souls and reminds me so very much of my Granny Soutar, my mum's mum who died in 1995 at the age of 82. Both ladies were dedicated to their families and when they were no longer able to take care of their husbands at home (Winnie's John battled Parkinsons and my grandad suffered a debilitating stroke) they diligently and loyally made their way to the nursing homes every day to visit their beloved companions, come rain or shine. I often drove Winnie over to Symphony House to see John and would pop in with her now and again. I loved watching them together. Winnie adored John and John adored Winnie. After almost 60 years together they remained completely and utterly devoted to one another, unconditionally. John passed away in August of last year just a few weeks shy of their 60th wedding anniversary. As you would expect, Winnie still misses him terribly. She will often say however, her eyes welling with tears, how lucky and blessed she feels to have had that wonderful man in her life for so many years: a loving and steadfast husband, doting dad to Peter and Michael and, most important of all, quite the dab hand at DIY!
On more than one occasion Winnie has turned to me and said "I don't know why you bother with an old gal like me". Well, Winnie, I bother because I love you. I bother because you bring joy, wisdom and a much needed sense of peace and calm to my life. I bother because you listen, encourage, advise but never, ever judge.
And I like your rock buns.