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A toy train and a baby doll. That’s what these brother and sister pairs are exchanging with each other.

My Bible Book 1948, page 32

My Bible Book, 1948   ( 32)

Trading is fun among friends, no matter what their size. Big or little, old or young – most people like to exchange gifts, conversation, sometimes even big ideas.

It is a giant leap from tots trading toys to literary giants exchanging thoughts, but the principle is the same and so are the benefits.

C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, both scholars at Oxford University fired one another’s imaginations in a small group called The Inklings. Both yearned to write science fiction with faith and morality as a central theme. Legend has it that “they literally tossed a coin to decide who would write a book on space travel versus time travel.” Though their early attempts were not completely successful, C. S. Lewis went on to pen The Chronicles of Narnia, and J. R. R. Tolkien wrote the Lord of the Rings series. Generations since then have enjoyed the fantasy of Tolkien’s hobbits and elves of Middle-earth and Lewis’ charming children and Narnian nymphs.

TolkienLewisCover

Their haunt? Frequently The Rabbit Room, a snug space tucked away in the Eagle and Child pub, Oxford, where a roaring fire, animated conversation and pipe smoke fueled their imaginations. At least twice weekly these brilliant minds hatched plans for plots and both nurtured and challenged one another’s brain children.

The Eagle and Child - Tuesday morning meeting place of the Inklings including Lewis and Tolkien

The Eagle and Child – Tuesday morning meeting place of the Inklings with Lewis and Tolkien

* * *

Christiane Northrup, M. D. a frequent PBS-TV presenter, promotes friendship as one of the paths to glorious agelessness. A sub-topic on her website exhorts women of all ages to cultivate varied friendships that she dubs “tribes” of friends. Though I never thought of my friend groups as tribes, I do recognize various kinds of friends I’ve been privileged to know at various times and places in my life.

Church Friends

4 friends party hars

Writer Friends

Standing: Janet Givens, Kathy Pooler, Marian Beaman Seated: Shirley Showalter, Joan Rough

Standing: Writers Janet Givens, Kathy Pooler, Marian Beaman
Seated: Shirley Showalter, Joan Rough at Chincoteague Island, February 2015

Colleagues at Florida State College in Jacksonville

FSCJ English faculty women, friends and former colleagues

Retired FSCJ English faculty women, friends who lunch

Friends at the Gym (They’re bashful!)

gymWeights

Friends from Eastern Mennonite College

Other room-mates and friends: Our name tags imprinted with college yearbook photos.

Other room-mates and friends: Our name tags imprinted with college yearbook photos.

Even sisters can be friends!

Sisters2011

 

My friendship with Verna Mohler Colliver is one I’ve maintained since college days as room-mates at Eastern Mennonite College (now University). I caught up with Verna at our last college reunion.

My college room-mate Verna Mohler Colliver and me

My college room-mate Verna Mohler Colliver and me at EMU Homecoming, 2013

 

Since the reunion, Verna and I have exchanged photos and slides of ourselves as beginning teachers at Lancaster Mennonite School in the 1960s. Indeed, she helped me hatch a plan to reflect on those early years in our careers by providing some photo “fuel” for two upcoming blog posts. That’s what friends do. And I appreciate it too!

As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Proverbs 27:17    King James Version

 

 

Do you have “tribes” of friends? Do you see them often? How do you keep your friendship(s) alive?

 

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