Everyone needs a steel magnolia friend. You may need to watch the movie Steel Magnolias to understand the depth of that sentiment, but maybe after I introduce you to my best friend since junior high, you might realize who your steel magnolia is.
|Lynn made me this piggy bank when we were in high school.|
Lynn and I met in junior high. We did the typical teen girl things; pass notes in class, have sleepovers, spend time with each other's families, gossip, and listen to music. We also did the typical rural teen girl things; attending 4-H meetings, riding horses in the creek and sledding in the hollow (which is pronounced /hol*ler/, by the way), and Lynn had a big sow named Priscilla that started our lifelong fascination with pigs. When we grew up, we became elementary school teachers, wives, and mothers.
Lynn was my matron of honor at my first wedding. She and I had our first two children in 1987 and 1989. Unfortunately, we were separated by the thousands of miles between Virginia and Utah, but whenever we got together, we didn't skip a beat, and just picked up our friendship where we left off.
|Our Red Hat Society day with high school friends. Lynn had a hat, too; she just hates hats, as a rule.|
Back when we were in 10th grade, Lynn had such a crush on a cute boy in our class named Bennett. Bennett had been one of my best friends since we were in fifth grade. He was always so nice to me, and since it took me a long time to fit in with the girls on our class, it was comforting to see a friendly face in fifth grade. It was easy to see Lynn and Bennett would be perfect for each other, so I played matchmaker.
|My best friends married each other after college. June 2018|
When we were at the high school Valentine Dance, I let Bennett know that Lynn liked him. And the rest, as they say, is history. They dated all the way through high school and college, and eventually married and had four children.
When I started my blog, there were about 12 people who read Randomocity regularly. Lynn was my very first official "follower." That's just one sign of a true friend.
|Fresh faces pink from the cold; sans makeup after cycling. December 2013|
When my daddy died just before Christmas in 2013, Lynn invited me to go bike riding with her and her daughter a couple of days before his funeral. She knew I needed a break from the grief, and spending time outdoors with my best friend was just the way to pass the time. It was 18 degrees the morning we cycled nine miles along the Piney River, but my heart was warmed by her thoughtfulness during that cold December day.
|Priest Mountain overlooks the peach orchard.|
When Lynn found out I was going home to Virginia this summer, she made sure Chuck and I would be able to spend time with Bennett and her at their farm. Lynn and Bennett are family; Chuck had to meet them, too.
|The smell of fresh peaches always takes me back to Virginia, and working for Saunders Brothers.|
The four of us piled into Bennett's pickup, and went for a ride through the peach orchards, and reminisced about the days when Lynn and I used to work for the Saunders Brothers in high school, thinning peaches, driving the tractor, and planting boxwood and azalea slips. As luck would have it, Bennett's folks were riding around the hills at the same time, so Chuck and I were able to say hello to them.
We showed Chuck the packing shed where I used to sell peaches for Bennett's dad back in the seventies. The four of us enjoyed lunch in their spacious kitchen. Chuck is still talking about the Virginia ham Lynn served. Luckily, I was able to find it here in Illinois when we returned.
|At Daddy's funeral, with some of the amazing women who helped me through that time.|
Lynn is one of those women who is dedicated to her family and friends. She wants to help others when she can. She was an amazing teacher with a soft spot for those little ones under her care. Those of us who call her friend are lucky, indeed.
|2018. Photo credit: Chuck Bennorth; ignore the watermark. My bad!|
Thank you, Lynn, for being a steel magnolia in my orchard of friends.
More photos from our day with Lynn and Bennett:
|Bennett created this peach out of colored slate, and inserted it into their walkway.|