Thursday, April 25, 2013

Make New Friends, But Keep The Old...

Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold.
A circle is round, it has no end. That's how long, I will be your friend....
You have one hand, I have the other. Put them together, We have each other....
Across the land, Across the sea, Friends forever, We will always be
 
Many of you might remember this old tune - I remember learning it standing in a circle with my fellow Daisy Girl Scouts in kindergarten.  While sing-songy and cute, over the years I have also come to see and live some of the deeper truth in the lyrics of this song.

So you might be wondering what friends old and new have to do with Ruth's Retreat?  They have A LOT to do with Ruth's - from the physical house, to prayers and encouragement in the process, to the reason I decided to start down this crazy adventure.  I always say... for an only child I have more "adopted" family that I can count, and which I am so very thankful for!

Each summer when we would head to Grand Haven with Grandma Ruth, there was always a long list of family and friends who we had to visit.  As a kid I enjoyed some more than others - otherwise known as some had toys and fun things to do and others were lovely lunches with other ladies (aka..."mom... may I be excused... I'm bored;))  We always had to spend at least an afternoon with Grandma's childhood friends Kitty and Ruth.  These women had been together for over 50 years and despite the fact that my Grandma had moved to the other side of the country in the 1970's I remember these 3 women having a connection that time nor distance could ever touch. I hope and pray I can be that blessed in 50 years!
Ruth V and Kitty in high school

Ruth K on one end, Kitty on the other with Sunday School pals out along the Grand Haven Pier

Kitty, Ruth and Ruth with their husbands and granddaughters - Ruth K got the baby doll instead!


The second was a family that lives in the house next to the one that Grandma had lived in until she moved to Colorado.  They moved next door in the 1970's as a young family with their cute young son John, who became Grandma's little shadow and best friend. John and Grandma Ruth baked, gardened, and played together, and he was sure to be found watching out the window for her little Volkswagen to come up the driveway between the houses.  John has many of the same "Grandma Ruth memories" I have - just a few years later and in a different state.
My first visit in 1983!

Our silly attempt at a partial recreation in 2011


One of my favorite stories is when Grandma climbed through the basement window of their house because John, his mom and new baby sister got locked out of their house, and Grandma was small enough to get through the window!   As a kid I loved spending time together... their youngest daughter is close to my age, so I always had a playmate. As an adult this house and these people have become even more of a second home and family.  They have graciously let me stay in their homes time and time again on my trips to Grand Haven - those just for fun, and for house hunting.  John and his wife Kate are locally managing Ruth's Retreat and their two adorable little ones have already tested out all the nooks and closets in Ruth's when they have been over.  Their son especially liked the closet under the stairs in the dining room - to which John remarked "this closet is just like the one Grandma Ruth had...it is where she always hid the maraschino cherries!"  So don't be surprised if you find a jar of cherries in that closet - just for tradition sake!

In a few weeks I will have the opportunity to  meet another member of this family, the amazing almost one year old Hannah Mae.  Hannah's mom Jennifer is the middle child of the family and she and her husband, 2 boys and Hannah live in the Seattle area where I am headed for a friends wedding.  Hannah has a very rare heart disease known as Diffuse Rhabdomyomatosis. She is the only diagnosed survivor and had a heart transplant in September.  Follow their amazing and faith filled journey on Jennifer's blog or follow them at Hope for Hannah Mae on Facebook.

Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold.
A circle is round, it has no end. That's how long, I will be your friend....
You have one hand, I have the other. Put them together, We have each other....
Across the land, Across the sea, Friends forever, We will always be...

Thankful for these lessons learned of lifelong friendship, for the fellowship, laughter and moments of just living life together!





No comments: