"Hey, Kat!" the familiar voice chirped on my phone.
"Jan! Good to hear from you," I genuinely responded.
These are shots of her visit last week to see me and other college friends in the area.
You really need to be over age 50 to use the term BFF because it takes at least half a century to grow a best friend forever.
We became friends over 50 years ago at age 12. We had the same boyfriend, Sandy Goodfellow, but not at the same time. We were college roommates and watched each other fall in love and marry.
She and Jerry went to Japan as missionaries and we reconnected on furloughs when they came back to America. Then he became a pastor in Oklahoma. We reared children, became grandmothers and I grieved with her when Jerry died in a car accident seven years ago.
Here they visited us in Greenville, NC.
I attended her graduation and cheered when she got her doctorate degree.
I always say, "You're the smart one."
She always says, "You're the one who gets me into trouble."
Not much has changed except our hair color. She flew from Oklahoma to spend her spring break with me this year. As a college professor, the academic schedule dictates much of life.
We reminisced, laughed, cried, shopped, sang and relished our few days together. There's something special about a childhood friend. She remembers details of my life that are not in my memory at all.
Other memories we both relive vividly. I'll share three from our teenage years..
Like the Saturday we came to church early for youth choir. Fairmount Park Free Will Baptist Church (now Gateway) had a belfry above the foyer. Combine two teenage girls with free time and you have a recipe for trouble.
"Janice, you know that expression bats in the belfy?"
"Yeah, " she innocently answered me.
"We-ellll, I was just wondering. . ."
"Kathy!" she warned in vain.
"Do you think there really might be bats up there, Jan?"
No one was around so together we lugged the communion table and a chair from the sanctuary to the foyer. We lined the furniture up, stacked them right under the ceiling opening so we could lift the attic-type door and climb up to investigate.
It was a little beyond our reach so one of us climbed onto the shoulders' of the other. Even our collective memories get a bit fuzzy here as to who did what. What we do recall clearly was our youth pastor, Ralph Rice, walking into the scene with, "Janice Baskins! Kathy Tippett! What are you girls doing up there?"
The question was never answered. Neither was the one about bats in the belfry.
Another Saturday we climbed out a church window on the second floor and onto a slanted roof to sun bathe. No one caught us that day.
This was her high school picture and I told her she looked sexy. That was not her goal. Notice what she wrote on the back.
During her visit we talked about the time my brother, Ricky, and I brought refreshments for the teens for after choir practice. Joe Creech led the music but we slipped out early to set up the fellowship hall with sandwiches, chips, cookies and drink.
"Ricky, we forgot to bring napkins," I noticed.
"Well, give me some money and I'll run to the corner store to get some, Kat. You just go back to rehearsal and I'll set them out in here beside the food."
Good plan. Only the next day at church we learned the full story as reported to my mother. Joe's mother, Mrs. Creech, was the grocery clerk as Ricky walked up with the napkins to her checkout.
"How are you, Ricky?"
"Fine. Just gettin' some napkins for youth meeting tonight," he innocently told her.
What she noticed (but he did not) was the box between them labeled "Sanitary napkins." He just thought they were clean napkins so he'd have probably set them on the church kitchen counter for all
the teenagers coming.
Fortunately Mrs. Creech intercepted, "These are kind of expensive, Rick. Let me go get you another brand." He smiled and thanked her.
Jan and I tried to take a picture at Cold Stone during her recent visit. These were the best we got! We may not be very successful at capturing the moments, but we sure do create them!
We're gonna have such fun one day in a nursing home together!