Monday, April 13, 2009

The Best of Friends

The animals with whom I share my life are among my best friends, but they are not my only friends. Regular readers of my blog know how very much my friend Ellen has helped me out with the critters here on the farm, and supported me in so many other ways too. However, readers are probably less familiar with my friends Ann and Ken, and today I want to honor them with a big, public THANK YOU.

I have known Ann and Ken for twenty years now. Ann and I first met when she was a mature student (they are about ten years my senior) in one of the classes I taught. Once she was no longer my student, we began a friendship that has stood the test of time, a friendship in which we have shared many common interests but also respected each other's differences.

Ann, Ken and I spent many, many weeks camping together around B.C., Ann and Ken in their camper, I in my tent and later in my small motorhome. Together, we travelled to wonderfully isolated forestry sites in the Cariboo and Okanagon areas as well as closer to home. Ann and I would hike and talk and read and enjoy the wild flowers, and Ken and I would fish together.

Ann and I both challenged ourselves, meeting and overcoming our "wall" with a strenous backpacking trip, first to Eaton Lake and later in Cape Scott Provincial Park. Ann and I also shared a passion for women's rights, served on the board of a transition home together, helped with a community women's centre, and attended feminist theatre, dinners and fundraisers.

In recent years our interests have diversified as I became increasingly involved in animal care and they in Tai Chi. But we connect as frequently as we can and still very much enjoy our times together.

Ken and Ann have fed me, listened to me, celebrated with me, advised me and comforted me through all the ups and downs of everyday life and through a serious accident, a marriage breakdown, and now....through retirement.

In the past couple of months, I have been sorting through my belongings, doing a major "downsizing" in preparation for moving. Ann and Ken offered to pick up the items I didn't want (or didn't want to bother selling) and dispose of them for me - first in their own garage sale, then at a garage sale Ann will be hosting for charity next week, and lasting by taking it to the thrift store. Sounds good to me - one less thing for me to take care of.

I think they came up to my place three times to pick up items in their truck - from big heavy stuff to little boxes of books and stuffies and bric a brac. The only thing they accepted for their labour was a couple of pails of alpaca poop for their garden.

This weekend they had their garage sale. I went down there to keep them company and help out where I could (mostly by drinking their coffee and eating their sandwiches!).

At the end of the day, they surprised me by turning over ALL the proceeds to me to help with the move as I prepare for retirement. They picked the stuff up, they CLEANED it (some of it had been in the barn and was VERY dirty), they priced it and set it out and sold it.......and then gave me the proceeds. My meek little "thank you" is simply not sufficent to cover what I feel.

Love ya, Ann and Ken. I am going to miss you more than words can express.


Anonymous said...

Dear Jean,
We are extremely touched by your thank you blog. You have been such a good friend over the years--I'm going to miss being able to just drop in on you whenever, but I'm looking forward to spending time with you on the Island now and again.
Love, Ann

Anonymous said...

Wow, that is really something Ann and Ken. I seem to remember when I moved that you collected a lot of my stuff for a garage sale - very much appreciated!