Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A token of friendship & thoughts thereon October 24, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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(Minnesota Prairie Roots edited and copyrighted photo October 2022)

GLINT OF SUNSHINE on metal caught his eye while mowing lawn. Five feet from the stop sign, Randy found the quarter-sized round in the grass. A friendship token with a center butterfly cut-out.

Like a writing prompt, my mind wandered to the story behind the token in our yard. How had it gotten there? When? Why? Plots form. Characters emerge. Tension builds.

I imagine the metal circle tossed by an angry friend. I picture friends—pre-teen or teen girls, simply because the token seems like something that age demographic would value—arguing. Perhaps their disagreement was over a boy or some weighty matter like name-calling or something trivial. No matter the reason, it was enough for one to fling the symbol of friendship onto a stranger’s lawn.

Or perhaps the coin was simply lost, fallen from a pocket. That scenario feels better, even if loss never feels good. I expect the physical reminder of friendship provided comfort and reassurance. Touch the coin when stressed, when missing a friend, when needing a moment of connection to someone who cares about you and loves you.

Friendships, no matter our ages, hold such importance. These are our people—those who get us, support us, encourage us, care about us, hold us dear. I cherish friends, from those who are on the level of just beyond everyday acquaintances to those with whom I can share anything and trust that they will listen, keep confidences and be there for me in joyful as well as challenging times. I reciprocate.

EVER-CHANGING

Certainly, friends come and go. The friends I had in grade school through college are mostly now friendships of memory. Memories of jumping rope during recess, dining at Club 59 in Marshall senior year and sitting cross-legged on dorm beds far away from home, our worlds opening wide. These friends will always hold a piece of my heart.

Moves, life changes, circumstances, differences and more change friendships, grow friendships, end friendships. That’s a given in life.

Technology has changed how we connect, form relationships. Through blogging, I’ve grown some close friendships with other bloggers. I never expected this, to first connect online and then develop friendships (think visiting one another, dining together, emailing one another and more). It’s wonderful, this widening of my friends circle. That circle is large, encompassing friends now from New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, even the Netherlands, and other locales, including many places in Minnesota.

ACCEPTING, LOVING, SUPPORTIVE

Life is hard. There’s no denying that we all face challenges at some point in life. But true friends lighten those struggles by their simple, non-judgmental presence, by their support and encouragement. Family histories, grievances and experiences don’t get in the way. These are our friends. Pure. Simple. They accept and love us as we are, for who we are.

I may not carry a friendship token in my pocket. But I understand its symbolism, its importance. I hope whoever lost or tossed that metal circle into my yard has reclaimed her friendship or realized the friendship was not worth continuing. Sometimes that’s the hard truth, too, that not all individuals should remain our friends. Sometimes the friendship token needs to be tossed into a stranger’s yard, left behind so we can move forward.

TELL ME: How do you define friendship and how has it changed for you through the years?

© Copyright 2022 Audrey Kletscher Helbling