France — as close as my coffee cup…

I have me a friend. Yes I do.

And, I had coffee with this friend in France today.
I’m top row, 2nd from right; Lisay is top row,4th from right

This friend has been my closest friend since 2nd grade in Mrs. Copeland’s class. Her family lived on the next block over, and she was considered just another one of my mom and dad’s “daughters”. Her name is Lisa, but I used to call her “Lisass”.  My mom told Lisa and I to stop using that name because it sounded like I was calling her an ass. So, I changed it to “Lisay”. (Pronounced “Lee-say”.  Why I couldn’t just call her by her real name, I do not know.)  I also call her “Lampost Lisa” — because she loves lamposts.

Lampost Lisa was the first one I would call when our cat, Suzy Cat, had a batch of kittens (this was before it was not uncool to have a cat and let it get pregnant and have a litter of babies.) She would come over and we would play for hours with those cats, have kitty races in the back yard, and be sad together when it was time to find them another home.

I was also at L.L.’s house safe and sound when our neighbors had a fight and the husband shot his wife, who ended up on my parents’ porch.  Scary night.  I’m glad I was not there.  I was with my best friend.

My sisters and I, and L. Lisa…part of the family!

We were in classes together all through grade school and Jr. High, but in we attended different high schools, because her family had moved a bit further away.  She would come visit my school during lunch hour (we had “open campuses” in our high schools where we grew up) and she and I would play tricks on people. One time, I sneakily got the locker combination of a guy she had a crush on and who had a locker next to mine.  When she arrived to visit, I crammed her into the locker (it as a very tall locker and she is a very small girl).  As I was chatting with him during passing time, and pretending I needed something from my own locker, I tried to keep from laughing while he worked his combination. As soon as that locker was open, he jumped back across the entire high school hallway as if something had hit him while Lisay exclaimed from inside “Hi, Bill (not his real name)!” I don’t think he ever forgave me for that.

Another time, a different year, she came over and, again, I crammed her into my locker just in time for passing time.  I was quite shy in high school, and not well known, (besides the fact that there were 2400 kids in the school) so felt I could get away with stuff without being suspected. She began banging on the inside of the locker yelling, “Let me out! Let me out!” Soon a crowd gathered around the locker and they begin to talk to her, asking her who she was, how she got in there. I’m not sure what she answered, because I was standing a distance down the hallway, but soon walked toward my locker. I had to say, “Excuse me, excuse me, please”, in order to get through to my locker, and people just were quiet, or I heard them whisper, “She doesn’t know…” As soon as I opened the locker, I said, “Oh, hey, Lisa! Did you get enough to eat?” (People didn’t know what to do with this, because they didn’t know me. Lisa and I thought it was absolutely hilarious.)

Well, through the years, we both got married, had kiddos, and have lead our own separate(d) lives. She and her husband are missionaries in France and the last of their three children is about to head off to college. But, we’ve kept in close touch through all these years, and last year I was able to visit her with another good friend and her daughter.

And, through the years Lisa has shipped me Starbucks mugs from exotic cities overseas, including those from Freiburg, Madrid, Zurich, Lucerne, and two from Paris. While visiting with her last year I also picked up another from Lucerne, and one from Basel.  Today, through a wonderful thing called technology, we spoke via Skype and were able to chat and enjoy our coffee together while I was beginning my day on my patio, and she was just winding down — me in Houston and she in her lovely home in France.  It’s not actually near Paris, but at least it’s in the same country.

Me with my Paris mug from Lisay, she with her Houston one from me

But today we felt like we were right there with each other in body, but also in spirit, despite the miles of separation.  She’s a person who has known me for years and loves me all the same.  We’ve laughed our faces off together, held each others’ babies, cried our eyes out together, prayed many prayers together, broken down on the Autoban together, played practical jokes together and cried over the death of our parents together.  She is someone who is unbelievably loyal to me, supports me, encourages me, and makes me smile.  I only hope that I am a good of friend as she is to me.  And, I wish everyone could have their own personal friend — like my friend Lisay.


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