My 3 Cents – Friendship on the Line
The idea of comfort food has become passé in this ever conscious age of health and wellbeing. What once was solved with a chocolate chip cookie (or six) has given pause to potential high blood pressure and/or stomach issues, not to mention added pounds. What can I do to cope?
I don’t know what inspired me to dial Peg’s number on Saturday morning after years, no, decades, of not being in touch except for a random Christmas card. But I’m so glad I did. A little history (or backstory, if you will, for fellow writers).
Peg and I met as freshman at Duquesne University’s School of Music in 1966. (Back then she was “Peggy” and I was “Becky” – one of the positive changes that happened over time was adopting “grown-up” names.)
Back in the day, we shared, along with a few other like-minded souls, the joy of commuting to the urban campus and though I can’t remember the precise time or place, we became fast friends. We were both serious about our studies, but the common thread that jumped to the forefront of our friendship was our similar sense of humor.
Our phone call was filled with laughter, but not just of memories of naïve coeds sneaking our first tastes of alcohol (very cheap Haller’s whiskey) before Mr. Maglio’s class or eating far too often on absurdly unhealthy pizza steak sandwiches and huge plates of fries at Frank & Wally’s (a dive bar hangout a block from the university).
We laughed at life’s ironies; how our lives had taken totally different paths, but still had so much in common. The conversation turned serious when we talked about my siblings’ health issues that are ever present on my mind. Peg shared the difficulties of losing a life partner after years together.
Part of the “comfort” of the phone call was in the fact that Peg knew me “when”. She knew my mom and dad, both gone now, and she remembers my siblings. I remember her dad and grandmother, also gone. That connection to who we were, and who we have become, is rare.
We also talked about the present. Equally depressed about the state of politics, we decided not to talk about it since “we agree to agree.” After about 45 minutes, we also established that it wouldn’t be possible to get together on my next visit to Pittsburgh. Time is precious for me to spend with my sister and Peg lives far outside the city limits. However, it really isn’t important to get together. We agreed that a surprise phone call sometime in the future would keep us in touch. The friendship has endured in its special way for years, no, decades. And hearing her voice and sharing laughter is the best “comfort” of all.