Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December 20th.

December 20th always makes me smile. December 20th is the birthday of my very first girlfriend ever, Juanita. December 20th is also the birthday of my very second girlfriend ever, Trude. All three of us were in the same youth organization. Yes, there were some awkward moments.
source: morgueFile.com
Trude and I had met on a fundraising project in October and said hi to each other at an event in November. Sometime in November Juanita and I had connected and were an item (very scandalous, I was a sophomore and she was in 8th grade). I gave Juanita a small necklace for her birthday and went home to pack for the annual Winter Break 5 Day Retreat. Since the retreat was open to high-schoolers, Juanita couldn't go on the retreat. Trude did go on the retreat. Yes, I went on the retreat dating Juanita and came back from the retreat dating Trude. Hey, I already admitted there were some awkward moments.
Trude and I continued to date for a year and a half. We took some time off, remained friends and dated for another year and half during college. We eventually ceased dating but remained friends until Trude got married. I consider Trude a friend even though we've crossed paths just once in the past 2 1/2 decades.
Juanita and I got past the awkward to become good friends. Once a decade or so we'd share a few dinners, drinks and movies when we were both unattached. Juanita and I lost touch when she moved from the Midwest to the Southeast about 20 years ago. Juanita needed a new start, the Midwest was stifling her. I think about Juanita often and hope she is happy.
Both Juanita and Trude were pretty as girls, prettier as women and more beautiful inside than out. I was lucky to have them in my life. From Juanita and Trude I learned:
  • How to break up with someone without being a jackass (OK, I didn't get it right the first time).
  • Relationships ebb and flow.
  • It's possible to heal from hurt. It's possible to heal so well you can be hurt again and heal again.
  • Good people stay with you forever.
Juanita and Trude were gone from my life before I met my wife. My wife is above and beyond compare but my wife is not the subject of this post.

I have another friend that also shares a December 20th birthday. I've known "the Chef" since junior high and he's always been available for me whenever I've needed his help. Please join me in wishing these 3 wonderful people a very Happy Birthday.  I'll cue Paul Simon.


  1. It says a lot about a person who has the capacity and endurance to sustain long-time friendships. I wish you, your above-comparison-wife, and your long-time friends the happiest of holidays this year and always. I hope someday to be added to your Long-Time Friend list! Your fairly-new friend and Triberr mate, Vena

  2. Vena,
    Happy holidays to you and your family. Should this time of year have any tears for you and yours, hopefully the tears will be followed with smiles and hugs.
    My luck with long term friends is more a testament to them than me, but we have an unstated agreement: Periods of out of touch don't diminish the friendship. If in crisis, call and ask for help. If things are good but busy we pick up when we reconnect.
    No such thing long term or new friends. Long term means a longer shared history, but a friend is a friend and as I count you as a friend, the privilege is mine. Enjoy the bounty of this time of year.