I spent some time at my local Starbucks the other day. I will usually hit it several times in one week to read or meet a friend… whatever. I usually like to sit in one of the comfortable, overstuffed chairs or couches rather than one of the tables. Let’s face it, my butt is getting old and craves the softness. When I came in, most of the soft chairs were taken except the two without arms near a longer table which was filled with a group of 5th and 6th grade girls hanging out with a 20-something young woman. How did I know they were 5th and 6th graders? Well…. you just kinda know. Very animated conversations. The stray loud noise from time to time. Giggles. Less robust that 5th and 6th grade boys, who wouldn’t be it Starbucks anyway let alone sitting at a table and talking. They were perfectly content to talk, look at magazines, and do the stray homework project. Kinda cool, actually. Not in the least distracting, just a nice picture of shared friendship which acted as a visual backdrop to the atmosphere.
As soon as the couch openned up, I moved my assortment of stuff across the room to sit where I could put my legs up on a coffee table. Settling back into the leather and my book, I heard an unusually loud snort from the table of girls, and my head came up in surprise. After the noise, the girls started to laugh, immediately followed by one of them saying, “Look at that guy over there.” I noticed several pairs of eyes furtively glancing in my direction, and then away when they made eye contact with my quick glance. I just smiled. I loved the scene. The ladies who lunch….
A short time later, a group of 20-something-age women entered the door and stood just inside for a moment. One of their group arrived just seconds later, and two of the girls from the table moved quickly towards the door. To the older women, one of the girls said, “You don’t know us, but we know HER…”, motioning to the woman just outside the door. As soon as the late-comer openned the door and before she could enter, one of the girls threw her arms in the air, began hopping up and down, gave a little scream, and jumped through the open door before the woman could even get in. The girl enveloped the young woman in an huge bear hug. Waiting her turn, the second girl also met the woman outside the shop. A second hug was given, and the three came back in the shop. After the greeting, the girls flew back to their table, the young woman said a quick word to her friends and approached the woman sitting with the girls. They must have also been friends, because they exchanged several words and smiles while the group of women settled into a table, grabbing several chairs from about the shop. Eventually, their late friend finished her conversation with the table of girls, and returned to her older friends.
I smiled… and smiled some more. I loved the scene. Since I had to leave for work, I decided to relate to the table of women the thought that had made me smile…
Walking over to the table of women, I said, “Excuse me for a moment…” Motioning with my hand towards the table of girls, I said, “…do you feel like you are looking into the mirror of time?” They all started to laugh while I laughed with them. “That’s good,” I said, and then left.
How valuable friendships of women are for them. I know they can be difficult at times….. circa “Wives of New Jersey… Orange County… Atlanta… New York …or wherever”. But really, women seem to carry healing to each other, when the friendships are positive.
While thinking about these young ladies the other day, I remembered a breakfast I attended several years ago while I was an associate pastor in a small, east coast community. The senior pastor came into my office one afternoon and said, “Are you free for breakfast tomorrow morning?”
“Yes.” I responded.
“Good. I want to introduce you to a neat group of ladies. I’ll meet you at the diner at 7:30.”
“Uuuhhhh, Ooook…..” He wasn’t more specific, and I wondered just what type of breakfast I would be attending.
The next morning, he met me in the parking lot of the diner… there are no BETTER breakfasts than DINER breakfasts, btw…. and we walked through the line of people waiting for a table to a tall desk with the seating list and the hostess. Upon seeing Pastor Jim, she grabbed two menus, and escorted us to a large round table around which were seated several senior adult ladies. They must have been in their 70’s or 80’s, and they were full of life. Since they knew we were coming, they had two place-settings already prepared for us. After ordering, we began to talk and listen. I really couldn’t tell you the topic of conversation. As I recall, the conversation kind of meandered, until…
“Well, it’s about 9-o’clock… we need to give up the table or they will be yelling at us…” one of the women said. At the time, I was confused. Why would a diner complain about customers taking up table space, especially ones who had eaten as much as our group had? Smiling at my look of confusion, Jim explained, “There is a group of older men who always meet here at 9 a.m. and this is the only table large enough to seat either group. They get very impatient if these women are late in leaving.”
I started laughing…. that figures…. good natured jousting between the two groups, but jousting nonetheless.
Looking into the mirror of time, how beautiful it is to see friendships begin, grow, and last. Especially friendships of women.
I think Barbara Streisand gets it right, “How they make a man sing…”