I was just settling down to my soda crackers with peanut butter when the phone rang. It was my friend Maureen. “Hi, how are you?” she says. She always starts her phone conversations that way. “They’ve started a drum circle that meets on Sunday. Why don’t you come down and go with us. It’s really fun.”
Hmmm, I thought. Another Maureen thing.
Maureen has a knack for finding unusual, amusing things to do that I never notice are going on. Over the years of our friendship she has invited, lured, bullied, coerced me into activities I would never have done on my own. She introduced me to the Native American Flute, she persuaded me to try an art class which I actually enjoyed, she had me buying Mona Vie, a health drink packaged in classy wine bottles that had the neighbors thinking I had a drinking problem when a package of it arrived every month. We took a paper-making class together, but sadly, I missed the gourd painting class. We both lost money on a penny stock deal that sounded too good to be true and was. She led the way to my becoming a vegetarian.
Maureen has endless enthusiasm for learning new things and is not content until her friends and family are brought along on the program. Her husband Don — Saint Don she calls him — goes along, sometimes as a willing participant, sometimes as driver and keeper of the credit card. They have invited me along on many excursions. Don and I will be headed back to the car and turn around to find Maureen talking to someone who five minutes ago was a perfect stranger and who is now exchanging emails with her.
If sometimes we drag our feet on new adventure she says, “Okay, I’ll go by myself,” and within a week or so we’re begging her to take us along, she’s having so much fun.
Sometimes it gets to be too much for her. Then she says, “I really wish we could just get in the RV and go park it in the woods and hike and read books and meditate and not have so many distractions!” But it never lasts for long and she’s off again, learning to play the dulcimer, signing up for a photography workshop or Intermediate Spanish.
Everyone needs a friend like Maureen. Without her I’d be just another old lady eating soda crackers with peanut butter for supper and watching cat videos and reruns of Downton Abbey.