This I Believe

Ruth Anne - Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
Entered on February 11, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65

I believe that a worthy friendship is time consuming. To understand why I believe this statement, I would like to tell you about a woman who became my friend and changed my life. Her name was Minnie.

It began at church. A lady made an obvious effort to greet me after the service. “Do you remember me? I am Minnie. I was the lady who wouldn’t sell you my house because I knew it just wasn’t right for a young woman. Would you be interested in having a Sunday dinner out?” I looked at my watch. Did I have an hour to spare on a Sunday?

At first we dined out once a month. The dinners moved quickly to two times a month and then weekly. I was 35 and she was 85. Time meant different things to each of us. I was teaching, coaching, and working on an advanced degree. She was mentoring needy students in math, tatting pillowcases, and arranging her free time. But we always seemed to find an hour or more to be together.

She was a fascinating woman with a quick mind full of so many stories. She was teaching during the time when women received the right to vote. She was an identical twin and periodically she and her sister, also a teacher, would secretly trade classrooms. How could I not spend hours with her? She was a rascal and an amazing woman.

After John and I dated for a while, Minnie said she wanted to go for a ride before dinner. When we arrived, Minnie ordered me to sit in the back seat and John to drive the car. “All right,” she said looking squarely at him “It is time for you two to get married—and the man always drives, so John you have to move to Rice Lake and drive to Stout. Ruth Anne will have more time that way.” Oh Minnie,’ I thought, ‘time for whom? Not long after, we did marry and Minnie was our Matron of Honor at 99 years of age.

Minnie consumed more of my time and I enjoyed consuming hers. She helped me to understand that being any age is just a stage and that one shouldn’t be hesitant to incorporate people of all age into his/her life.

Minnie was truly a time consuming friend, but in a special and wonderful way. The exchange of time for a friendship changed my life.

Dedicated to Minnie Pingle