Thoughts on life from Pat Oaks
I have known Cynthia since she was about 14 years old. She always came to our week of church camp in Unicoi, Tennessee. When she was too old to be a camper, she started working as a counselor. We did Senior High camp for 35 years in Unicoi.
As most of us know, friendships come and go. Some friendships last for a season and for whatever reason, people move on and aren't as close as they once were. Some are what we call forever friendships. Those friendships last even if there is time and distance between those friends.
Cynthia is a forever friend. Her friendship is based on loyalty. I can even be hateful to her and treat her in an unloving way, and she is still my friend.
Many years ago, Cynthia studied to be a nurse. This was after she graduated with a teaching certificate and couldn't get a teaching job. Instead of giving up, she just went back to school and got a nursing degree. (BTW--she paid her way both times.)
When it came time for her state board exams, she had to come to Knoxville in order to take them. She lived in Elizabethton and we lived in Knoxville. She asked if she could stay with us. Of course!
The day of her exam, we had to be gone part of the day. While we were out I saw an old cabinet top on the side of the road, so picked it up and brought it home. We had to leave again so I put it in the yard to clean later. When we came in that evening, Cynthia was so proud of herself. "I cleaned the cabinet top for you that was out in the yard!" (She knew the propensity I had for picking up stuff on the side of the road!)
Instead of saying, "Oh, thank you! You are SO thoughtful, Cynthia." I said "Oh no!. What did you use?" She replied that she had just used my dish towels!
What happened next was NOT pretty! I "lit" into her! I bawled her out up one side and down the other!
"WHAT????? How in the world could you do that Cynthia! You know how particular I am about dirt and germs. Now I will have to throw all those dish towels away!" I went on a rant for about 10 min before wearing down! I fumed and stomped and let out several irritated breaths before finally finishing my tirade.
Cynthia never said a word. Just stood there grinning, like she always does.
Later, I told Tommy what I had done. Cynthia had gone home by this time, and I was starting to feel pretty rotten about the whole affair. Tommy said, "Well, did you apologize to her?" I said, "No". He said, "Well???"
So, with a heavy heart I called Cynthia on the phone. I really did NOT want to apologize. I was in the wrong and knew it, but I didn't want to admit it.
When she answered, I started telling her how sorry I was for the way I had treated her. Guess what she did?
She LAUGHED! She said "Oh Pitty Pat (what she calls me). I didn't give it a second thought. I know how you are about dirt and germs. All is forgiven and all is forgotten.
Actually, if she reads this, she probably will say to herself..."I did WHAT???"
FRIENDSHIP - Not a word I take lightly.