Monday, August 11, 2008


me, Melanie, Lucy and Susan through the haze and ashes of the fire

I’ve written about imaginary friends before. Today I have one less than yesterday. Lucy is no longer an imaginary friend; she is now a berl (blogger encounter in real life) friend.

A few weeks ago Lucy wrote and said she was coming through our town at 5:00 on Sunday afternoon and wondered if it would be possible to meet. I don’t know which impressed me more: that she would take the initiative to meet fellow bloggers or that she knew precisely when she was coming through town three weeks in advance. It doesn’t really matter, for Lucy’s posts have long impressed me, and those two insights perfectly fit her character—she’s outgoing, courageous, knows where she's going and refreshing, and had I given her accurate directions she’d have been here exactly at 5:00.

Melanie, Susan and I have known each other for a long time. When we moved here ten years ago, Susan befriended me at a family church dance. Calvin was working in the harvest and I don’t remember where Terry (Susan’s husband) was (probably supporting his young men at a football game). Susan and I sat at a corner table, encouraged our kids to “dance some more”, laughed and talked for the whole three hours. It went so fast and I felt good about life at the end of the evening. Susan is easy to talk to and willing to share advice, thoughts and ideas. She’s very supportive to Terry and her kids, creative and I admire her.

I met Melanie at the hair salon. EVERYONE and their dog wanted her to cut their hair. Because she was so popular and respected I didn’t have the courage to request her, but I did watch her from my station in the mirror. She has the funnest laugh and engaged everyone who sat in her chair. Finally, after she’d married and was cutting hair from her home, I got the courage to ask her to do my hair. She works miracles, both in the chair and in the heart. I love to be around her. I admire and appreciate her.

Milo and Melanie, Susan and Terry and their families met Lucy and her boys here for supper. It was great to get together and hear each others’ perspectives on various topics. The kids seemed to fare fine running outside—Zoe (Susan’s daughter) kept them out of the canal—and quickly found alliances and friends; and our husbands were patient at letting us chatter about things that excluded them from the conversation. I’m quite humbled by Lucy’s efforts to connect with us and likewise the encouragement of our spouses and families that allow us the time to write and read blogs and make berl friends.

Note to Melanie, Lucy and Susan. Remember I was worried about the angle of Calvin’s shot? Ha. Joke’s on me. I should have been more worried about the smoke between us and him. If you have a good picture from the other side of the campfire (with a kind angle) would you forward it to me, please? Thanks.



Kim Sue said...

what fun meeting imaginary friends in real life!

Susan said...

So very, very much fun Jane! Thanks for having us out to your house!

Amie said...

How fun. I love love the "berl" term. It is fun to put a real person with the life we read about.

melanie said...

We had such a fun time last night. The kids LOVED your place and if you see my van parked in your driveway without warning, it's me letting them 'burn off some steam', ha! They crashed last night and even took naps today. Is there some other secret to your cooking that induced such good sleep?

Thanks for taking the time to host such a group! You are a fabulous hostess. I do have a photo I'll email you. It's not perfect but it is missing the smokey haze :).

Happy, Happy Birthday Lucy! (I'll be there in a month.)

Jenny said...

I think the BERL term is perfect. I hope to meet more imaginary friends now that we are closer to the West of the US. Lucy is quite the trooper to be driving that much! Happy Happy Birthday LU!

Lucy said...

Jane, you are even more of a neighbor than I imagined, which is saying something. Thanks for the lovely, lovely evening. It was well worth the stop:)

cathy said...

That is so neat and fun! I bet you have influenced and inspired THOUSANDS over the years. Wouldn't it be fun to meet them all? Slowly but surely they will come to get a glimpse of the famous "Neighbor Jane Payne". How lucky for me to be related to you? Pretty darn lucky I think!

HeatherM said...

This is really neat, Jane. I very much wanted to comment on your 8-8-08 post, but it's had 8 comments for the last two days, and I've been hesitant to break the karma. I'll condense it all here. Your post was just fabulous - and you do so many creative things with your life, I think you could have inserted 88 more. What a blessing you are, and what many blessings you have. Thanks for sharing - it always brightens my day.