“She Who Must” Strikes Again

True blue friends are hard enough to find; couple friends can really be tough. All four have to like each other for the friendship to properly gel. This can be a tricky feat, as we all know; at least one person is usually deemed deficient somehow by one of the others, and the relationship never evolves into a successful foursome.

Man, what a bad picture. We are all infinitely better-looking and less blurry in real life.

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Our oldest friends have just slowly navigated down our snowy driveway towards their Delaware home. We’ve known each other since we were all in our twenties, young and ambitious and so ready to take on the world. We’ve been through thick and thin together as happens when you remain friends for decades, almost like an old married couple. What do they say about “in sickness and in health?” There are unspoken vows between dear friends too, I think.

And I, with my unerring good judgment, fought meeting N and B tooth and nail.

You see, it was my mother who was trying to force the meet-up. N worked with my father. Mom and Dad were instrumental in arranging their wedding. They socialized together regularly and all I would hear was “You need to meet N and B. They are great.”

BH and I felt exactly simpatico on the subject: “We have no interest whatsoever in meeting people our age who would socialize with our parents. How rare a breed of loser must these two be?” My mother, never one to be deterred by mere resistance, would not take no for an answer.

And so we dodged, ducked, and deployed defensive maneuvers to discourage my mother’s relentless matchmaking. Twenty-somethings, as you are aware, always know what’s best.

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My mother is not called “She Who Must (be obeyed)” for nothing. She out-strategized me by inviting us over for margaritas one sunny afternoon and cheerfully exclaiming when we arrived, “Oh, N and B are out on the deck! Go meet them.” My death glare didn’t dampen her victorious zeal in the least and, really, what was I to do? Good manners prevailed, I put on my game face, and BH and I slunk out to the deck to meet what surely must be the dullest couple on the planet.

Except Mom was right.  Dash it to bits, she usually is. We’ve been friends now for thirty years.  And to her credit, Mom never says “I told you so!” Well, maybe once or twice but who could blame her?

I’m curious. How did you meet your oldest friend(s)?

We’ve had a massive snow storm in Virginia last night into this morning. The state is effectively shut down at the moment. It is my plan to fly out tomorrow morning for warmer climes. I’ll be taking a bit of a blog break.

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View down the driveway this morning. Brrrrrr.

 

Hope you all are safe and warm wherever in the world you are. See you all when I return,

Barbara

 

 

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About Silver in the Barn

Life in a 1915 farmhouse in Central Virginia. Blogging about whatever happens to catch my fancy - sometimes nonsense, occasionally not.
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103 Responses to “She Who Must” Strikes Again

  1. Thom Hickey says:

    Enjoy the sun! Thom

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  2. The best friends I have are from when I was twenty. I think it is possible to meet good new friends when you are older but those you met in your 20’s are definitely special.
    Great post Barbara, as always!!!
    xxx

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    • Hello Daniel! The old friends remember who you were and understand your history. It makes for such a comfortable relationship, doesn’t it? And I agree that there is always room for new friends in life, thank God. Speaking of posts, Daniel, I plan to share your bread recipe with my readers one of these days giving you full credit, of course. Of course I always think I will get to writing a certain post much sooner than I actually do! Good to hear from you, as always.

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  3. I broke ties with a lot of friends from my single days and am now just forming bonds with some of my kid’s friend’s mothers. My husband kind of stays out of it. A handshake and a gruff hello will do when the hubbies meet up.

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    • In my experience, the husbands are usually dragged along into friendships if the two women like each other. My husband calls me the “social director.” Yup, handshake and gruff hello sounds familiar!

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      • Right, and it’s funny because when we first got together my husband thought I was anti-social and always said he wanted to have parties and have people over for dinner. I still fear that part of it, since I can’t cook, but I try to come up with ways to hang out outside of the home while my husband just seems to dread all social interaction!

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      • Not that you asked for my advice on this subject but here it is anyway, Marissa. People just want to be invited and included. They are nowhere near as critical of the food as you might imagine even if you are a mediocre cook. You could come up with fairly easy solutions to the cooking problem with a rotisserie chicken and nice deli salads. Usually getting them properly snockered helps too! Only partially kidding. Entertaining gets easier the more you do it and the more you keep a sense of humor about the inevitable disasters which we’ve all had. I served red corn once. Long story. And also had my broiler catch fire sending greasy smoke throughout the house. So awesome.

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      • That’s reassuring!! No actually, it really is! I definitely think that getting something simple form a grocery store would probably be the way to go. If I ever get brave enough, that is very likely the way for me to go!!

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  4. Carrie Rubin says:

    “We are all infinitely better-looking and less blurry in real life.”—Aren’t we all? 😉

    Wonderful story. Moms often do end up being right, don’t they? Enjoy your break. Safe travels!

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  5. Leya says:

    Sun would be great – enjoy! This is a lovvely post and tells a great deal of truths…My best friends are the ones i grew up with and went to school with . So, we still meet and chat and eat and hike together, my two best friends and I Then there are another two I meet sometimes, and then old collegues from the 1970’s. So, my very best friendships have lasted for exactly 50 years, and my old collegues and I have been best friends for 35 years about. Their partners have had to come along of course, and mostly that’s no problem. I even acted match maker when one of the couples met.
    You write about us knowing how we were and how we have become, and that makes it easy to respect each other. I agree. New friends I have as well, but they do not know “the old” me, how I was as a girl. There are some new friends though, whom I would have liked to meet many years ago, and I feel a bit sorry for that. Has that happened to you as well?

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    • Oh yes! I have a relatively new friend whom I’ve known for only three or four years. In many ways, I feel such a strong connection with her and we are very close in age. I wonder if we would have been friends when we were younger because we come from such different backgrounds. It’s possible those differences would have prevented us from forming a close friendship in those younger days but thankfully did not do so now. I think the friendships you describe go a long way towards good mental health. We need our good friends desperately!

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  6. suzicate says:

    Enjoy your trip to a warmer climate! Enjoying this cold snow day…inside with a cup of delicious homemade hot cocoa!

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  7. julieallyn says:

    Great post. And so true about finding friends where all four people ‘gel’!

    Kudos to Mom! 🙂

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  8. dorannrule says:

    Old friends are best, but making new ones is a close second! Glad to have met you Barbara. Enjoy your vacation! 🙂

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  9. Dogfish Head! Great craft beer!
    I had some true blue friends but I eventually pulled them out the water.
    Snorf, snorf.
    Enjoy your warmer limes. I mean climes.

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    • Dogfish Head is so good it converted me, a life-long wine drinker, to beer. My favorite is Midas Touch followed by My Antonia. How to resist such good names? Now I have to go check and see if I have a typo – did I maybe actually type “limes?” EGAD.

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  10. Jennifer Howe says:

    Great post and have a great trip!

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  11. Jodi says:

    We have a bestie couple friends too, who we met in our twenties. Met in the small neighborhood we lived in and it turned out that the husband and I graduated high school together but never knew each other! Big school – I moved there middle of high school, etc …. It is amazing when you can find a couple that you all get along – ours are like family and our kids are all like each other’s and brothers and sisters to each other. We plan to grow old together. Old friends are golden, but there is always room for making new ones too! The silver ones! Like Silver in the Barn Barbara! 🙂 xo

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    • “We plan to grow old together.” We do too. N and I were discussing our plans for what we’ll get away as old ladies sitting on the porch making observations about passers-by. This is how we amuse ourselves! Yes, I’ve seen postings about your combined families and know that you know exactly what I’m talking about. Interesting that two of you went to the same high school and didn’t know each other until later. And thanks for including me in your silver friends!! XXX

      Liked by 1 person

  12. nrhatch says:

    Some of our old friends are childhood friends. Others are friends from various and sundry places we’ve worked. But none of those friends live nearby . . . so we made new friends down here. It’s harder to find a couple that works for both of us, but we’ve been lucky with some of the friendly folks down here.

    Where are you headed for your warm weather get-a-way? If you’re near us, stop by for a drink!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So close, yet still so far! I am flying into Orlando to help out with various trade show preps, etc. which you know is in direct conflict with my goal to achieve as little as possible. From there we are going up to St. Augustine for other meetings/touristo things. And then home. Not really a vacation. Surely another time a Tampa/St. Pete rendezvous can be arranged. Hate to miss seeing you!! And sometimes in areas where people aren’t as firmly entrenched, it’s easier to meet new people, I think. Florida strikes me as more welcoming to new blood than some others.

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      • nrhatch says:

        I think you’re right ~ at least in our neighborhood. So many of us are transplants from colder climes that we are “warmer” when we meet new people. PLUS we are happy that we are not out shoveling snow!

        I would offer to drive over to Orlando to watch you work . . . but my back is bugging me at the moment and I don’t think it would take kindly to the drive over and back. So let’s say Next Time!

        Also, bring a few layers ~ tomorrow and Thursday are going to be highs in the 50’s! By the weekend, temps are expected to rebound.

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      • So GLAD you told me. I knew it wasn’t going to be warm, but fifties is cold enough for layers. Thank you. And YES to next time. Which probably won’t be that long from now. I can’t let Pix have all the fun.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, and I hope your back behaves itself. Driving used to be what hurt my husband the most when his back was giving him fits.

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      • nrhatch says:

        My back was feeling better until I went to Water Aerobics this morning. Now it’s annoyed at me for all that bending and stretching and bouncing about. So I have to take it easy and move SLOW for a few more days.

        Which is fine since I hibernate whenever the temps drop below 60. 😎

        Have a wonderful trip. It’s supposed to be 78 on Sunday. So bring your bathing suit along with your woolies!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. We have a very good friend who holds a kind of pre- Christmas re-union party each year. Usually the same people turn up, all bringing some food and drinks. They are mostly people we have known for decades and seen each other’s children grow up. As the years go by, there are fewer. Some have divorced, moved away, and some have just slipped down-under. We all remember each other and revive things of the past, still have plans for the future and nurture hope for health and sound hearts.
    This good friend has done this as far back as I remember, at least thirty years or more.
    Good story Barbara. I love the look of a snowed under landscape! It will be 26c here today and sunny.

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    • I dread when that inevitable passage in life begins to happen within my own circle. What a charming idea your friend has devised to bring all of you old friends together to rejoice a bit in one another. I bet nobody misses it unless they absolutely have to.
      Oh, your weather sounds glorious. I am heading to Florida just in time for a cold snap. Dash it, I can’t escape it!!

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  14. shoreacres says:

    Can you believe it! I saw a few flakes of snow here this morning. It’s long gone now, but cold, and the system is moving east. It’s probably the same system that will make your layers advisible.

    My best friend was my boss, back in the 70s. She and her husband and me and mine were great pals. Then, we moved to Liberia, and they didn’t. One thing led to another, and by the time the 90’s rolled around, there were no more husbands, and we hadn’t made contact with one another for years. As it turned out, a customer of mine knew her as well, got us together, and we’ve been rolling along ever since.

    The one thing I’m noticing is that making new, younger friends can be important as we get older. None of my best friends is capable any more of real traveling, and certainly not if it involves hiking or physical activity. Replaced knees, bad hips, and all that. So far so good for me, so I’m going to spend the year getting myself into somewhat better shape (twenty pounds gone, and more veggies). I need to keep myself healthy so I can take care of my friends!

    Safe travels – and warm weather, I hope.

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    • A lovely story of friendship interrupted and revived. Not all are able to be resuscitated so you two have something very special. I have spent most of my life in the company of older friends somehow. As you observe, it is good to spread the love around a bit for lots of reasons including a reinvigorated outlook on life. I have an older friend who has made the conscious choice to never enter a 55-plus community because she wants the influence of younger people to help her stay chugging along/ Groups of older people just seem to naturally turn towards conversations about prostates and other horrors and she wants nothing to do with it. 79-years old and she is regularly attending auctions and filling her antiques booth with “junk”. as she calls it. An inspiration!
      And twenty pounds off? Nothing could be better for your health. Congrats!!

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  15. Have a good break fro the snow wherever you go. The couple who became our best friends forever started with the men going to kindergarten together. When we became four, it was imperative that we ALL became best friends, and we did, for over 60 years. Both are gone now.

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    • I’ve typed and erased about three different starts to my comment because nothing I can say could possibly be equal to what you’ve shared here. A sixty-year old friendship, with all of its attendant memories and joys, is just indescribably sad to have lost. Life deals some pretty tough blows amongst all the good stuff, doesn’t it? Thank you so much for sharing this; such a reminder to enjoy each other NOW, right now.

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  16. Eliza Waters says:

    Oh, Barbara, I am SOOOO jealous you are escaping – but bully for you! After all, when you have a spouse who flies, why not get out of Dodge? Have a wonderful trip!

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  17. joannesisco says:

    Long time friends are valuable beyond description. How funny that your mom would have played such a huge part in your friendship 🙂
    Although I have friendships going back to kindergarten – yes, we still stay in touch – our longest and closest friends as a couple goes back about 23 years. Any time socializing together is sure to devolve into laughter and fun … exactly what friendship should be. They were also our rock when our oldest son was very sick 10 years ago and we felt like our world was falling apart. They helped hold us together through some very dark days. I loved this post Barbara – another reminder of what’s important in our lives!

    Safe travels and enjoy your vacation in warmer climes. I too am seriously jealous!!!

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  18. Behind the Story says:

    A couple of my best friends came from my mother, too. They were daughters of people my mom went to school with. When I was a child, we had parties and picnics with their families, went camping and boating together. We’re still friends. In fact, I haven’t seen them in a while. I ought to call them.

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  19. bkpyett says:

    I married my childhood friend! Have a wonderful holiday with some warmer weather Barbara. Wonderful to see you with your ‘old’ friends. 😘

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  20. I hope you have a lovely time, BB …

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  21. Kentucky Angel says:

    Enjoy your warm climate Barbara, and think about the rest of us, stuck here with the snow, the freezing wind chill factor, Keep safe, but have fun!!!!!!

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  22. It’s almost too cold to type here in MissouREE! I am pouting and stamping my foot with jealousy over your visit to Florida, BUT I do hope you have a wonderful warm time.. 🙂 Our best friend couples from way back… they are all no longer together. I kid you not. I would say the couple we click with the best is CH’s little brother.. younger by three years… and his wife. We have been having good times with them for 22 years. I still have gal pal friends from way back in grade school. We all live a distance from one another but when we get together it’s like old times!

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    • Hello Pix! I’m hoping it’s warming up a bit for you in MissouREE. When we first moved to Virginia we cultivated a group of friends every single one of which, except one couple, subsequently divorced. It was troubling and traumatic in a way I wasn’t expecting really. And I didn’t always see it coming. Goes to show how much you really know about what’s going on…..

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  23. Almost Iowa says:

    “And to her credit, Mom never says “I told you so!” Well, maybe once or twice but who could blame her?”

    Parents are like that and I always resented it – until I became a parent.

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  24. Barbara Stevens says:

    Wonderful story Barbara, your mother sounds like a force of nature. Haven’t thought of She Who Must Be Obeyed and Rumpole with his glass of plonk in ages.
    N and B sound delightful, and the fact that they enjoyed friendships with people of all ages speaks well of them.
    You’ve reminded me that it has been much too long between visits with our oldest friends, the husband of which I’ve known since fifth grade who became my husband’s best friend in ninth grade. We always pick up right where we left off.
    Enjoy your trip.

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    • Hello BS2. Oh, you are so right. She Who Must is a force of nature. Sometimes she changes venues though and we call her Hyacinth. Of Bucket fame. This is hilarious because it is so true especially considering my father’s name is “Richard!” COL!!! And of course you are right that cultivating friendships with all age groups only adds to the richness of life’s experience.

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  25. Sadly, many of our couple friends have become single friends over the years. 😦 De-press-ing!
    The Mister says he finds the friends and I keep them, which I think is accurate. (And should not at all sound creepy, as though he lures them in with his charm, and persnickety me casts them out or keeps them…Okay, it sounds creepy and cannot be helped, because it’s true.)
    Most of my friends have been so since we were all young, single, and childless. They’re well-worn and beloved. Our couple friends via me are a larger group, as I tend to maintain old friends and he tends to collect new colleagues. We maintain a good introvert-extrovert balance.

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    • Excellent, Jolene, the introvert-extrovert balance. We are tilted a bit too strongly in the introvert department which is difficult at times. Depressing is right when friendships are lost through divorce. We went through that in our early forties when our entire social circle either moved away or divorced. I felt completely adrift and kind of vulnerable. But here we are, years later, still puttering along.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. To have a long-lasting friendship like that is truly impressive.

    Moms are always right, aren’t they?

    Enjoy the warmth and sunshine. It’s the ideal time for you to escape it seems.

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    • Well, Audrey, I would love to tell you we basked in the sunshine and warmth, but we met with a freak cold snap and pretty much froze for two and a half days. It warmed up for our last day, of course. Still, better than what was going on in VA with zero degree temps. Brrrr.

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  27. We have a couple of friends who are dearest and easiest people for us to be with. A rare piece of luck. I was doing baby-minding of their son, before I met my husband, but we’ve remained friends all four.

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    • Hello Hilary, you’ve used the word that best describes these kind of friendships. Easy. It’s wonderful to not have to be on one’s best behavior and just ease into the comfort of the friendship like a pair of warm slippers.

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  28. KerryCan says:

    So glad you got away to warm weather! You told this story so well and made it such fun to read–yes, to mothers who have a weird ability to be right more often than not.

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    • Truly, Kerry, my mother is uncannily right on many things. I’ve learned over the years to just give up and do what she says. When I was younger, I resisted her advice but now I happily accept it. It’s coming anyway, I must as well take it.

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  29. I just loved this story! It’s funny because I’ve had this conversation with my husband over the years as I’d meet a new mom and want to immediately introduce her husband to mine, not actually working out the details as to whether or not they’d actually hit it off. Well, I’ve learned my lesson. It’s wonderful that you have such great, longtime friends all thanks to your mother!

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    • It’s frustrating, isn’t it, when you really like “her” but he doesn’t like “him.” My poor husband is always such an odd man out because he has zero interest in sports. ZERO. And what do men talk about on first meeting, right? Poor BH, if he could find somebody to talk aviation with, he’d be a happy man!

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  30. reocochran says:

    Hope you are enjoying a grand time in a sunny location! I love your story about N and B.I could imagine myself with my first husband wondering what kind of younger couple had decided my parents were entertaining?! I love how you admit your mother usually was right, Barb! I am so glad you shared their photo and have had such a long and special friendship. You are also correct, finding two people who like the other couple, both members, is rare. I met my longest best friend at college, Patrice. Then, my second longest meaningful friendship is with someone I met at a Welcome Wagon meeting, short blonde hair and sometimes wears glasses. She is Nancy. Her second husband ‘stuck’ and they are marvelous together. (It was 1980 when we met.) Then, my Jenny is my local best friend, who is a retired teacher we met at AAUW meeting, I was President. It was a ‘meet and greet’ at a local park. She had short blonde hair, I found her husband at a video store, they have been married since 1994. All is still going strong with Nancy and her Mike, my Jenny and her Dave and I had both couples sit together at my son and daughter in law’s wedding. They have sat together at all three of my children’s graduations from h.s. and college. They get along but don’t meet except at Robin’s invited soirees, ha ha! (Did you have blonde hair? I am not sure why but other than strawberry reddish/blonde Patrice, my other best friends were always blonde? I noticed your best friend is brunette… smiles!)

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    • Yes, I had short blonde hair!! How funny. How very nice your two stories are and that you found her husband at a video store. I am smiling at your “stuck” reference to Nancy’s husband. I’m glad he did! Yes, my friend is a brunette and does not dye her hair. Can you imagine it is still that dark and nary a gray hair in sight. Good Italian genes, I guess.

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      • reocochran says:

        Oh, i have dyed my hair ever since my brothers and I took advantage of my parents while I was 29 years old, they were watching my 3 children at Cedar Point in the little kids’ area, while Randy and Rich were waiting in line to ride one of the big roller coasters. My brother, Randy, who is a mere 18 months’ younger than I, was counting my white hairs on my head. I proceeded to start dying and have done this once a month, with the same Clairol brand, but different shade, leaving on longer minutes to cover those grays. I am one who envies your friend, but also would be happy to quite dying and see the results, maybe when I am 70 or so. Barb, my blonde girlfriends really do look fine with their gray, silver or white ‘highlights.’ I just am so used to looking at dark hair in the mirror, I haven’t switched gears… yet! smiles and hope you have a great rest of the weekend!

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  31. Hi Barbara, What a great story, and how wonderful that you all have stayed friends for so many years. You are so right, it can be so daunting to make and remain friends as a foursome. What do you think is the secret to that? It seems to me to be a bit of a dance, staying close, but also knowing when to give each other space. Have a great trip! xo, N.

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    • I think there are many parallels to a long-lived marriage actually and couldn’t agree more about giving each other space. We have as a foursome never been “cling-ons” jealous of other friends or experiences. That can be the real kiss of death in a friendship, I’ve found. We even manage to travel well together which is the ultimate test of compatibility and so rare as to be deeply appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. You know, my partner and I were just discussing this very topic! Because I was a teen mom, my twenties were spent working and putting myself through school while raising my daughter alone. Friends, real friends, were almost non-existent with the exception of one friend who I met in middle school.. My partner, on the other hand, made all of her best friendships in her early twenties and even though she’s lived away form them for over a decade now, they never skip a beat when back together again. Such interesting experiences 🙂

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    • Melissa, I had a very similar experience. I, too, was a young mother and lost touch with most of my school friends many by own choice. It took YEARS for me to be somewhat on the same wavelength of my peer group in terms of similar responsibilities. It may explain why I always have had older friends. Isn’t it incredible the ripple effect so many of our choices cause in subsequent years?

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  33. Oh, I hope you aren’t headed to Florida in hope of warmer weather, because it’s cold here, too, but not as pretty as having snow. So your mom sounds amazing, and your friends sound awesome. But I have to know… why are you married to Benny Hill? 😉

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    • Yes, Rachel, I must say we froze our little orange rinds off!! Brrrrr. And just who are you calling Benny Hill!?! LOL!! Neither of the guys took a good picture that day, fyi. They are infinitely better looking in real life.

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  34. Grace says:

    Barbara, I really enjoyed this post. We are fortunate enough to have a number of friends that we have known for decades. Just today I had lunch with the wife of one of the couples and we realized that the oldest of our children are now older than we were when we first met! I feel so blessed to have these couples in our lives; we have been through so much together. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s wonderful, Grace. Whenever I am jolted into realizing just how young I was at a certain point in my life, it always comes as a complete shock which I imagine is how you and your friend felt at lunch realizing your children are older than you were. What a great story. These friendships enrich our lives immeasurably, do they not?

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      • Grace says:

        They do, indeed, Barbara! We have been through so much together. What amazes me is that the friendships have survived multiple moves as well. Such strong bonds!

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  35. I was a dormitory counselor in my sophomore year in college, and met my oldest friend helping him move into his dormitory room at the beginning of his freshman year. I met his wife shortly thereafter, and long before he married her, and had the good fortune to value their friendship equally.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Mothers. Don’t you hate it when they’re right? Unless you are one, of course. Then it’s completely acceptable. We’re safe here but tooooo warm.

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  37. Yay! Great pics. You have more snow than we have in Delaware. 😉 Blog is looking fab!

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  38. WordPress have been having one of their moments…your blog post did not turn up in my reader so I am only just catching up! Enjoy your warmer climes as much as I enjoyed the allusion to Mrs. Rumpole!

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  39. Cecilia says:

    I wish you a good time in warmer weather, I wish I could escape the snow too.

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  40. My oldest dearest friend passed away last year, but we were friends for over 30 years. We met, as young Mothers often do, strolling the babies on the sidewalks, and waiting at the end of driveways for our husbands to come home from the train. I miss her with every fiber of being.

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  41. I’m so glad your Mom prevailed. They sound like a wonderful couple. Growing up, we moved around so much that I didn’t keep in touch with childhood friends. I have one FB friend from high school and that’s it. But friends that we had as adults in Central New York, we do still keep in touch and I treasure them. Some I’ve known for more than 40 years.

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    • Judy, me too. We moved constantly which leaves me feeling sometimes envious of those with such deep roots. Not always, there were lots of benefits to moving around so much but later in life, I understand how grounding those childhood friends can be to those who still have them.

      Liked by 1 person

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