November 21, 2011

Gratitude: "I Get By...

...with a little help from my friends"

--The Beatles

Friendship is a funny thing.  I arrived late to the party when it comes to having girl friends.  I always was a "guy's" kinda gal and felt more comfortable having a posse' of testosterone around me than estrogen.  A psychologist could have a field day with me on this topic.  But I just always had trouble dealing with the drama a gaggle of gals can bring to the table (myself included). But time, wisdom and maturity has a way of leveling the playing field amongst women.  Truth-be-told we spend our youth trying to develop our individuality, but in the end we realize it is our shared experiences that bring us closer together.

"I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends"
Berks County, PA

(**disclaimer:  not all my lovely "estrogen contributor"s are present in this photo,
AND...that is NOT a bearded lady!)

So I find it quite ironic that when I reached my late 40's I happened upon a group of gals who are now some of my dearest friends.  Who could imagine that a group of former classmates who traipsed the halls of high school together when computers were something we'd only seen on "The Jetsons", were brought together via social networking on Facebook.  We are quite the varied group and were in different "cliques" in the class of '77.  We have a former cheerleader,  a few technical school attendees, a marching band geek, a high school bride, a working girl, a Cuban-born spitfire, and one who lived abroad in our group (I'll let you try to figure out who is who in the photo....but NONE of us had a beard!  That is our 'guy' friend from high school who is a pretty cool drummer that we were seeing this particular evening...who knew THAT in high school!?!  He was a football jock back then).  

What we all now KNOW is that altho we took different paths in our lives, we should never underestimate the binds of a shared past.  We might not have even TALKED to each other in high school due to  labels we each  had on our foreheads, but maturing and shared experiences now mean that no  matter where we go...we take a bit of each other with us.

"Guardian Angel"
Whitemarsh, PA

Which is why it is with sadness I enter this week of Thanksgiving and gratitude.  We lost one of our circle this week.  Our "high school bride"...Lori.  51 years young and taken by lung cancer.  It is hard for me to understand how a disease can tighten a death grip on a young body so thoroughly and so quickly.  Mere months from diagnosis to departure.  Barely time to comprehend and prepare.  But Lori did, and did it with grace, courage and her ever present smile and optimism.   Being the "girls" that we are, we bought Lori wigs to replace her beautiful long hair.  Because we all know we like to look good...even when battling cancer!  I will never forget her face when she saw herself in the wigs for the first time.  You just never know how someone will react to that...sadness? shock? tears?  Not Lori.  She was one sexy chic and she rocked those wigs!  I told her she would catch a young,  good looking doctor as a result of her looking so good on her visits to the hospital.  Not that a young doctor would be able to keep up with her!


But God had other plans and took her home.  I am SURE she is up in heaven smiling, laughing and wearing a great pair of shoes and mixing drinks for the party.  

So what does this have to do with gratitude?  Well, how lucky am I to have had someone in my life that is so hard to say goodbye to!  Sometimes sadness is a true blessing. So thank you to Lori, and the rest of my estrogen posse',  for helping me realize the benefits of hanging out with a bunch of crazy females , that maturing doesn't necessarily mean you have to act mature all the time, that lines on my face are a GOOD thing if they are "laugh lines", and disproving the adage that a band geek and a cheerleader can't get along.  Gratitude, sheer gratitude.

R.I.P. Lori.

--The Band Geek


  1. I had the goose bumps the whole time I was reading this. We really do have a lot to be thankful for, and a big part of it is friends. I have the honor of being in this group and am very thankful for a special group of friends that I didn't even talk to in HS, but now feel I couldn't live without. I am sad that my friendship with Lori came later in my life, because I feel like I missed a lot of good times. She had such a beautiful smile and attitude. We will continue our traditions, and I know Lori will be there in spirit, maybe wearing an eye-patch. Thank you Kathy for such a nice tribute.

  2. I too was a guy's gal and didn't have many close women friends in my younger years... part of it was truly enjoying men and feeling threatened by women... now my women friendships are among my most valued!

    I'm so sorry you lost a close friend to such a cruel disease. I enjoyed reading this post for the obvious love and affection you feel for your women friends.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting on my Cape May shore pictures. (funny thing about shore vs. beach... I think of a shore as someplace you go to look at the waves and a beach as a place you go to swim and/or indulge in water sports or sunbathing)

  3. Oh my gosh, your post just touched my heart. I'm sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute.

  4. Oh Kathy, so sorry for your loss! We have lost many in my class of '80 already . . . and yes there is a lot of gratitude in sadness sometimes because it means we had something very special to begin with.

    P.S. - My two best friends in high school were guys, we were the three muskateers!

  5. Oh I am so sorry for your loss- prayers are with you & her family. You spoke of it all so beautifully- brought tears to my eyes.

  6. Losing friends is a hard thing to endure, especially to the ravages of Cancer. It has taken way too many without regard to male or female, young or old. Knowing her made you happy and you have wonderful memories that you are grateful for. A really beautiful tribute and I am so happy that you discovered girl-friends, they are the best, I couldn't deal without life sometimes without my bff's....

  7. What a beautiful tribute to your friend. You are truly blessed to have such a wonderful group of galpals!

  8. What precious memories and a lovely tribute to your friend. Your photography is beautiful.

  9. Your story touched me in many ways. Funny as we get older we realized what is important and what is not. Friends are the glue that hold us together. Am sure your friend is watching over all of you.

  10. Beautiful & touching post! One of my favourite quotes (I used it a few weeks ago).
    Welcome to Quotography. I look forward to this link up each week as I LOVE quotes!
    Sorry for your loss and I am sure Lori is looking down from Heaven at her wonderful friends. It's wonderful when we can choose to have an attitude of gratitude even in the hard times. Bless you :)

  11. I'm so the tribute...

  12. Oh my sweet friend. What a heartfelt post.. I had tears in my eyes... There is no better way to give thanks to you sweet friend.. I just know she is looking down like you said and smiling..

    Hugs, Linda

  13. It is so nice to meet you Kathy, and welcome to The Creative Exchange! I cannot tell you just how much I enjoyed reading this post, and your photographs are wonderful. Especially the rose!!

    Thank you so much for joining us this week, and I wish you a beautiful Thanksgiving!


  14. Kathy, that was so touching, I am honored to be your friend and part of circle. I admired Lori for her outlook on life,her stregnth and that smile!

    We will miss her on our events. And when we have our holiday gathering we raise our glass's and toast the one of our flock we lost much too soon.

  15. I, too, feel more akin to the boys than the girls. But unlike you, I never changed and find the male friendship more appealing. Just me -- what can I say?

    So sorry about your friend. That is way too young to be taken. xoxo

  16. What a lovely tribute to your friend and the bond that you had. I'm sorry that someone so young and dear to you was taken.
    A beautiful post and photos!

  17. Kathy that is a beautiful tribute to Lori. You put into words what all or us are feeling. I also feel thankful to new and old freindships via fb.

  18. What lovely words of remembrance! Your friend's spirit lives on in your heart.

  19. What an awesome post! Having girl friends is so fun and so important! I am so happy you were able to connect with yours again!