2023.44 : You Can't Make Old Friends

Taurid Meteor Stream Circa 2023

What will I do when you’re gone?
Who’s gonna tell me the truth?

— Sung by Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton

Seven decades. Glorious hair. Glamorous hair-dos. Everyone she knows looks forward to her latest hairstyle. That was, until the owls invaded the loft. Letting them fill her eighth decade with bedhead simply wasn’t acceptable.

What to do? It meant adding one more unexpected item to my ever-growing list things never imagined having to do: learning the art of hairstyling.

As regular readers know, I am privileged to also caretake, no caregiving, my aunt and uncle’s orchard. As the orchardist, it took a while for me to find the word for someone who tends an orchard that isn’t an arborist. I help coordinate distribution of the fruit bounty to loved ones, friends, family, and neighbors. The apricot harvest this year fed them all, with fifty pounds left over.

What to do? Text a close friend of the family, “Let’s make a trade.” I would deliver the fruit to her home 90 minutes away in exchange for her, the professional stylist, teaching me how to style my mom’s hair. The deal was made with no negotiations.

Alongside learning to cook and chauffeur; wash, rinse, and blow-dry (cutting left to the pros) a woman’s hair has proven to be invaluable for the woman who gave me life.

Amidst the daily chaotic madness of the owls, the roar of a hair dryer enforces the day’s only tranquility.

Recently, I challenged a friend with the bold assertion that it seems it hasn’t sunk in that at our ages we are now closer to death than birth. I was told they had their estate planning affairs in order, which is good, except I meant something else – how our lives going forward have to be informed and reflect the stark reality. We felt the import but wasn’t the time to push the thought further.

In between thoughts of how to better apply the hair styling lessons as I aspire to make my mom’s hair once again locally famous for being fabulous, I do push that thought further.

We can make new friends who can become old friends, but for how much longer before time math says otherwise? Am I doing everything in my power to keep the bonds with old friends strong?

I am fully cognizant that the season for loss after loss of old friends and family has appeared on the horizon. What more must I do not to regret their passing, or them of mine?

I contemplate the isolation that follows the loss of old friends and the truths they carry away with them. What life decisions must be taken now to avoid burdening my family in my old age and, instead, to partner with someone in crafting, hopefully, three more decades of unforgettable memories together, fortifying us as we see each other to the exit?

And now … know the photograph.

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