Dictionary.com defines friend as “a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.” Merriam-Webster defines it as “one attached to another by affection or esteem.” But, I think when we think of a friend, we think of someone we love and who loves us because we choose to do so. Someone we have mutual respect for. Someone to laugh with, cry with and just be ourselves with.
We have friends that have been by our side since we were little kids, and we have friends that come into our lives during different seasons. I recently sat down with a group of ladies that became friends after moving to MRC PineCrest Retirement Community. I think there is a thought that it might not be possible to become best friends with someone once you are past a certain age, but these ladies definitely prove that thought wrong.
Helen Ramsey, Pat Dillard, Doris Gage and Clair Herrick all came to PineCrest at different times and at different seasons in their lives. They didn’t know each other before coming here, but formed a bond of friendship that is still going strong after more than twelve years. The loss of a spouse, movement through the continuum of care and health issues have only made them closer.
“Positive attitude is one of the things that drew us together,” stated Doris Gage. Mrs. Pat Dillard followed that statement with, “You need to have a positive attitude about life or you are sunk!”
This group of friends began when Pat and Helen started walking outside together. They both had different walking partners and due to the walking partners exercise changes, these ladies got together so they would have someone to walk with outdoors. Although Doris and Claire were not that into walking, all these ladies attended different activities and got to know each other very well. “We were all so different,” Pat stated. “But, we are alike,” said Doris. One day, one of the ladies suggested they go to dinner, and that is when the fun really started. They started all going to dinner every Saturday night. “Those were some wild trips,” said Pat. “We would take turns driving and the person driving got to choose where we would go eat. Well, it was Doris’ turn to drive and she told us it was going to be a surprise. She drove around a lot, in all directions, and we ended up about six blocks away at somewhere like Dairy Queen!” (This story was followed by lots of laughter.)
They became known as the “Fearsome Foursome.”
This group of ladies not only went to dinner together, they started the sewing group at PineCrest known as “Stitching Friends.” They have also served on different committees and more. But, through it all they have supported each other. Helen said that “Doris is so creative. She can always think of something to do.”
Even though Doris and Claire are no longer in the Independent Living neighborhood of the community, these ladies still make an effort to get together when they can. Doris told me that she “never dreamed I would be part of this kind of friendship.” All of the ladies feel like their friendship is a very special relationship. Pat commented that “I can’t do without them.”
Speaking with these ladies was like speaking with a group of teenage girls. Smiles, laughter, and a bond of friendship that shines through. They are also the perfect example of four different women coming to a community like PineCrest with different expectations, not really knowing what to expect as far as friendship is concerned, and making friends of a lifetime. Pat said it well when she said, “This friendship has been such a blessing.”
But, I think that Doris may have summed up their friendship best with, “When all else fails and everyone moves on, there will still be the Fearsome Foursome!”