Today I want to tell you about my friends. I live in a small town, and am surrounded by a wonderful community, my family are here and I am lucky enough to have a whole lot of really wonderful friends as my extended family. At the heart of my community is a pub, it’s a homely pub, with a garden, by a river, these days we walk our dog by the river and stop in afterwards for a pint, in the old days it was more raucous.
My friends and I have been going to this pub since we were 16 years old (naughty) and 20 years later, still meet every couple of weeks there for a catch up. It feels like my safe space, almost like a second home, when all else fails I can head there and there will always be a familiar face, a comforting word, a shoulder to cry on. A couple of hours there with friends puts the world back into perspective.
I met my husband and a lot of my friends in this pub. Most I’ve known for a long time, some for less, but I love them all. Some of them are older men or women, who I’ve gotten to know over the years of hanging out in our pub, some are my age and we grew up together, some are younger and we’ve met through boyfriends/girlfriends, some of the older ones have watched us younger ones grow from teenagers into adults, now we watch the younger ones grow up. we’ve gotten to know each other’s families, and become a big family ourselves. We’ve had so much fun together, and sadly been through more than our fair share of tragedy. There are people, family, friends, who should be with us today, but are not.
What I really want to reflect on is the community spirit and how much comfort and joy that brings me.
Whenever I walk into this pub I see a sea of familiar faces, the chaps that loiter at the bar, leaning and chatting, the girls who know me better than anyone else, who I call my best friends, sitting around on the sofas or in the garden, giggling, moaning, catching up, their children, climbing trees and running round the garden, playing together, our boyfriends and husbands plotting camping trips and being mischievous, I love them all, We’ve seen the best and the worst of each other over the years,cried and laughed together, celebrated and comforted each other, through thick and thin, we are so lucky to have these bonds with so many people. I know these people have helped shape me into the woman I am today, and I like to think I’ve helped them. But what I really want to say today is that these people, each and every one of them are special unique and awesome human beings, and I thank my lucky stars for them today and every day.