Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Real Friend

Once, and only once, I played the Easter Bunny at the neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt.  During my rather uncomfortable afternoon as the iconic big-eared fellow, I had to constantly keep reminding myself that I had indeed volunteered for the assignment.  After the hunt for the eggs was over and all the little bunny fans had gone home for their naps, happily carrying their baskets of chocolate eggs, I was finally free to go. Unfortunately, in my size twenty rabbit feet and my three foot rabbit head, I could not exactly drive myself.  This duty fell to my suspiciously too eager chauffeur, The Songwriter, who simply could not resist this delicious opportunity to show me off to friends and family.  My protestations were futile, and we were off, soon passing by the home of a favourite neighbor, an elderly lady who was kneeling in her front garden, planting red geraniums.  We pulled in the driveway, The Songwriter giggling, and I struggled out of the car, stood up to my full Easter Bunny height and waved my platter-sized Easter Bunny hand.  She glanced over her shoulder nonchalantly and, in the most unimpressed voice one could possibly imagine, simply said, 
“Oh, hi Pamela.” 
I mean, really?  Just “Oh, Hi”?  She didn’t even require an explanation as to who this was?  The life-long, well-tended image of myself as a woman of elegance and decorum evaporated like the morning dew.  She did not even pretend to be surprised to see me dressed up as a ten foot rabbit.  And I loved her for it.

I attended this wonderful lady’s funeral a few days ago, just one week shy of her ninety-fifth birthday.  I had to smile when the speaker, an elderly man himself who had known the lady for years, told of the time when, tired of the slow and inevitable process of going bald, he had decided to shave his head.  Everyone told him how “wonderful” he looked, although he knew pretty well that the mirror disagreed with this flattering assessment of his new visage.  Only one friend, the lady in question, told him the truth when she declared, 
“Lord, Albert.  What did you do to yourself?  You look positively awful”.
  As everyone in the church laughed, he added, 
“You know, I always knew I could trust her after that.  A real friend is someone who will tell you the truth.”

 Now, I certainly do not hold with those who, seemingly unencumbered by the virtue of tact, simply spout harsh opinions willy nilly to any and all ears.  These people can be hurtful at worst, annoying at best.  I do however, know the value of a good friend - most often an old friend - who will tell you the truth.  She is the one who will quietly let you know you have lipstick on your teeth or a snag in your stocking.  He is the one with whom you can argue, who never demands your allegiance to his opinions - a bit of a rarity in this polarized age.  She is not afraid to tell you she did not care for the book that you loved; the two of you can discuss it freely.   A friend such as this will let you know if they think you are about to make a wrong choice.  And they will always defend you to others.  Their honest criticism makes the praise they bestow all the sweeter, for one feels more comfortable believing it.

How sweet it is to have friends such as these, and even sweeter when one's spouse is such a friend, as mine is.   It makes life so much more pleasurable. While they could never be as devoted as Edward, (who could?) I do feel most fortunate in my friends and I wish the one recently departed a sweet and peaceful rest.

For more on my Easter Bunny escapade, including incriminating pictures, read HERE.


  1. Pamela, a wonderful story. I would have liked that woman. She sounded like a 'salt of the earth' type of gal who didn't hold back. I have known many like her and you can't help feeling a special warmth toward them even though they excude very little in return. I had a peak at your Easter Bunny costume...what a truly talented individual you are! Encore for this years festivities?
    Thanks again for your comments...always nice to hear from you..best to Edward!
    Jeanne :)

  2. "The life-long, well-tended image of myself as a woman of elegance and decorum evaporated like the morning dew." What a FANTASTIC line. I love that you were the Easter bunny.

    The woman you write about reminds me about an elderly lady from my hometown, a former school teacher who became a senior's activist. She was, how you say, feisty. When one of the care homes was under threat she said the residents didn't want to move to another building outside of town. No, they wanted "to be able to look out at the folks in the park and see the young people making love in their cars." Ah, good old Hazel.

  3. Yes, a true story full of wonder. She would be so pleased to know how much you loved her, and how much you loved writing about her.
    Ah, the Easter Bunny? Funny, funny.

    We must be related! It is France and the pastry shop that is the one place we never miss when at Epcot!
    Oh that "bad" stuff is so good.
    Hugs, Donna

  4. I love this part of the story-and I remember reading your post on you as the Easter Bunny. This lady would have been a wonderful neighbor-one I would have visited often. My dear Mother always had a china plate with beautiful handwriting on it- it said... "A friend is one that knows you... and still loves you." Isn't this so true? I suspect you two ladies are both very lucky to have known one another.

  5. Oh to live an authentic life and live to be 90. So sorry for your loss but you must have been so blessed to have known her.

    You are a lovely bunny. The only thing missing from the picture was Edward.

  6. Pamela, this post is a beautiful and moving tribute to this wonderful woman and to friendship itself! I love friendships that are so real and true--and I love the people who make such friendships possible. She sounds like she was a treasure. xo

  7. Easter egg hunt! This year?

    I agree, honesty is good, but tact is good too. Neither should exist in absence of the other.

  8. I love the friendship in this post. And the quote, "A real friend is someone who will tell you the truth.”

    I have friends like that. And I adore them for their truth and friendship and love.

  9. I so enjoyed this story and had a good giggle at the "oh hi Pamela". Your wonderful writing style frequently surprises me.

  10. Dear Pamela
    Sorry to hear of your friend's passing.. Sounds like she had a wonderful life and was a true friend to those around her.. We had a neighbourhood friend just like her as children.. we called her 'Auntie'. She was straight as an arrow but when she bestowed niceties upon you, you knew they came from the heart... Thanks for bringing these memories back..

    I have to go see you in this bunny costume now.. I'm sure that will be an Easter treat.. xx Julie

  11. Oh Pamela, I am so sorry for the loss of such a wonderful friend. True friendships are a rarity, I find. Yet what a blessing when they touch our lives with such beauty and purity.
    By the way, you were a very pretty Easter Bunny!

  12. Dear Pamela, What a lovely, and amusing, story. Your elderly friend, sadly no longer with you, sounds exactly the kind of character one longs to know in life and when they are no more, one misses them dreadfully.

    I do, I am afraid, have great difficulty imagining you dressed as an Easter Bunny. I generally think that any form of fancy dress is to be avoided like the plague!

  13. Pamela, what a dear, dear story...and how generous of you to reveal so much about yourself as a "lady of decorum". It makes your writing so authentic.
    I laughed out loud at the description of your costume and thought of Jane, my 85-year-old friend who dresses up like a fairy and tells magical stories to children. I live in fear of the day when she leaves this earth.
    Best, Becky xx

  14. What a beautiful tribute to friends...real friends. I feel warm and cozy just reading it.

    ...maybe the bunny again this year?? No. Oh.

  15. oh what a wonderful story, thanks for the link to the photos of you as the Easter Bunny! Real friends are so valuable, I'm glad you had such a wonderful one, sad that she's gone now.

    Btw, i was walking along the river today and rushing round the corner came a dog who looked just like Edward, who then leapt at me in eager friendship!

  16. I enjoyed reading about your friend, she sounded a real character. I agree with your description of real true friendship.
    Thanks for book recommendations too!

  17. Oh Pamela,
    I just went over to see your Easter Bunny post. You looked fabulous. I think that you made a very dapper Easter Bunny.
    I loved your story of the lad who nonchalantly waved and said hello when in your outfit. What a wonderful woman she sounded and, I am sure that her funeral was a celebration of her very long life.
    Good and honest friends are very hard to find.Thank goodness for all of the Edwards in this world !!

  18. What a beautiful tribute!
    just beautiful.

  19. That is indeed a wonderful story. I am sorry to hear the loss of your friend.
    What a costume!!

  20. I really enjoyed your sweet story.
    I'm sure you'll always treasure her memory.

  21. It is a sad thing to lose such a friend. But, as you describe, better to have loved and lost....
    (You make the most wonderful bunny though.)

  22. This is a wonderful tribute, Pamela. And a timely reminiscence. I assume your Easter Bunny role was a one-off?

    I was very struck by your thought about how we are losing the ability to discuss/disagree because of our polarization. So true, I think.

  23. A sweet and thoughtful post Pamela, particularly regarding your friend, but a funny post too, as you tell of your Easter Bunny experiences. Like the Songwriter, I too, made my out-of-work actor husband divert from his "gig" as the Easter Bunny in the shopping mall.I asked him to visit the school in which I was teaching.We had baskets of Easter eggs to present to the children at assembly. Instead of the original intention of handing the baskets to the teachers,somewhow, each class lined up to be presented with an individual egg by Easter Bunny, who was mortified as he couldn't see the little people through the tiny patch of gauze, ending up hitting most of them in the face with a clumsily held egg. He also couldn't wait to "take off his head" and had to find somewhere safe to do so, away from little prying eyes.The memory still makes me laugh.Thanks for a great post.

  24. That was a beautiful story. I love people that just tell it like it is. She sounds like a fun girl, to me!
    Love the pics of you in the bunny costume. Looks like a very warm get-up!

  25. Dear Pamela, I read your story aloud to myself as I found it the best way to take it all in and savor its important message. Truth can be a fine line at times. Although I sometimes want to tell a friend how I really feel I hold back, simply because I don't want hurt feelings. But then I ask myself am I doing them a favor by not revealing my real feelings? Tricky at best sometimes..

  26. I'm sorry on the loss of your friend. A wonderful tribute to your friend. She sounds just like my 91 yr old neighbor down the street. I'm off to visit your Easter link. xo

  27. That was simply lovely. It is indeed a fine line between the truth and cruelty. You'd never catch Edward even thinking you looked bad! :<)

  28. I discovered clients adore my complete landscape design'eye'. Get rid of that tacky pitted brass circa 1980 lighting by your door.

    No client of mine will have the back of a tv set exposed to the garden via windows.

    And I can see your john boat stored under the deck why?

    Why are your downspouts bright white next to the red bricks?

    Oh, patio furniture. Often it's my right eyebrow decimating entire dreadful matchy-watchy suites, without uttering a word. Gone.

    Obvious,all of the above, yes? But friends, family, peers, neighbors will not tell you these things. Clients are so relieved to know what to get rid of and exactly what to buy.

    You have lost a treasure in your friend.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  29. Dear Pamela,

    You write so beautifully, you tell a tale that carries us away -- you have a gift.

    As for friendship, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "A friend is a person with hom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud." I think that's wonderful.

    Yes, I too have a spouse who tells me the truth -- sometimes to my great consternation, when I'm absolutely POSITIVE I've chosen the right ensemble.

    Warmest regards to Edward from Charlotte and Macha.


  30. Oh I am so happy I dropped in! What a truly wonderful story, gave me goosebumps. I am new to blogging and a new follower. Thanks for sharing this great post.

  31. How hard it is to lose a friend, Pamela, and what joy to have had them with us for whatever time we have. Your songwriter seems to be a very special friend, as well. I will someday tell the story of how he dressed up as Mack the Knife for Halloween . . . another day.

  32. ...good friends are hard to come by...this is a reminder to me to keep mine close and let them know how I feel about them...

  33. Lasting frienships are aways born out of truth and love...

    Really wonderful story!!!

  34. I loved your story & I'm sorry for the loss of your friend, but glad she was in your life. I have a dear older friend who is ninety six. She can no longer drive, so I pick her up for a movie and dinner or lunch. She is a real joy & a bit feisty herself. I'm blessed to have her in my life, too.

  35. I had to laugh at that as if you went around constantly dressed as a bunny. :-)

    I'm lucky to have some friends whom I can talk straight to. The best like you is my husband. We trust one another's opinions more than worrying over fragile egos.

  36. What a story and what a delightful friend you had and you undoubtedly are as well.

    Happy St. Patrick's Day!

  37. Happy St. Patrick's Day Pamela, to you and Edward!
    It's nice to know you would be an Easter Bunny for other people.
    Beautiful post, you are right!!!
    To have friends of all ages is important, also it is a gift to have friends that will mirror us and offer honest feedback!!


  38. ps:
    Check this out!!!

  39. Pamela, what a wonderful story. I know you will miss your friend. I am sure she is telling the angels a thing or two right now!

  40. I remember laughing at Your Bunny-ness last year! I doubt I could have been as calm as your old friend when you made your appearance as a huge rabbit. But what a sweet story, and may she rest in peace.

  41. What a lovely story and your friend sounds like she was such a wonderful character. Friends are so precious aren't they?

  42. That's one thing a friend is allowed -tell the truth -we accept it from them, but not from "strangers", because we know we have their love, no matter what:)
    I can count on my kids to tell me the truth, because they're wholly un-inmpressed with my doc degree, for them I'm just mom!

  43. Thanks again for your comments...always nice to hear from you..best to Edward!
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  44. I remember reading your Eastr Bunny escapade before and laughing loudly. It is just as funny second time round!


I love to read your comments! Each and every one! Though I'm always reading your comments, I may not respond in the comment section. If you want to write me directly, you may do so at pamela@pamelaterry.net. Thank you for reading!