New Friends

April 3, 2019 Petals of a Flower

“Don’t try to hog loneliness and keep it all to yourself. Share it with a special someone.”

― Jarod Kintz

The other day I was wandering in a public garden, taking photographs and watching people. My daughters always talk about how easily I get to know people and that I can’t stand in a grocery line for more than a few minutes without making a new friend. Now, in reality, these “new” friends are often what I call “new friends who are really old friends” and they are all around.

I once met a wizard all dressed up and on his way to a dance who had lost his hat. Another time it was a lady in the park who had a parrot inside her coat who peeked his head out occasionally and said hello.

Well, the gardens were full of “new friends who were really old friends”. I met a little girl named Shannon who ran from one flower to another with glee and actually squealed with delight.

As I wandered the gardens I met a lady in love who was looking for flowers for her garden wedding. Her name was Elizabeth and she was 73. She had lived alone since her husband’s death many years ago and never having had children had resigned herself to being alone. Then she was strolling along an old cobblestoned street where she spotted a lovely and colorful sign announcing the opening of an art show and welcoming people to enter. She was a bit chilled and decided to step in and warm herself. There, as she stood breathing in the scent of flowers in a painting, a gentleman came up beside her, softly caught her eye, and said “Art helps you see life more clearly.” I kid you not. That is exactly what she said. They are now planning a late April wedding.

One of the ladies working at the gardens bore a name tag that said Cami. I asked if her name was a shortened version of Camellia and she laughed and acknowledged it was, but hastened to add it was of Latin origin and did not refer to the flower of the same name. She was a recent immigrant from Equador. Her father, Enrique, was born and raised in Havana, Cuba, but left after the Revolution and moved to Equador, where he met and fell in love with Camellia’s mother. He died when she was a baby but she was named for his mother who was never able to leave Cuba and Camillia never knew her. Her mother told her that as an infant her father would rock her and tell her how beautiful she was, just like her “abuela”. I told her I too had lived in Cuba and that I was of the belief that meeting her grandmother was not necessary for she had her blood in her veins and that we are who we are because of all the people who have come before us, for we are their posterity.

Everyone has a story to tell and a purpose. Take time to get to know strangers and you too may find some “new friends who are really old friends”.

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