At the age of 16, I took a job at a summer resort about 2 hours north of where I lived. As a child, I had spent many summers vacationing here with my family.
I was hired as a chambermaid, but after the first 2 weeks, I was moved to the dining room as a waitress. It may have had something to do with the fact that after a particularly late night with my coworkers, the bed I was supposed to be making, looked very inviting. Thinking it would be awhile before the occupants of the cabin returned from breakfast, I decided to crawl in & take a little nap. Like a scene out of Goldilocks & the Three Bears, I was rather startled when the returning guests found me with a wee bit of alarm, asleep in their bed. True story.
I discovered I much preferred serving food to cleaning toilets & making beds anyway.
For many of us that summer, it was our first time away from home for any length of time, out from under the watchful eyes of our parents. I look back and wonder how our employers managed to keep that many young people in reasonable order. Let’s just say, it was a summer to remember, for many reasons! A living soap opera of sorts! 🎉😎
Working in this kind of environment, your colleagues become your family, living under the same roof together, working together & hanging out in your down time together.
I met a number of great people that summer but sadly lost track of most of them not long after we departed ways when the season was over.
But there was one friendship that remained for many years beyond the age of 16. My friendship with Karen. She & I immediately clicked as friends, developing a friendship that would span a number of years post our summer job at the resort.
Keeping in mind it was 1977, these were the days before cell phones & Facebook, which made it a little more challenging to stay in touch. Letters were hand written & sent via snail mail, as there was no internet or email. You know, the dark ages!
Parents rarely offered to drive you. Anywhere. If your friends lived within the city limits, you were expected to walk or ride your bike. If they lived a distance away, as Karen & I did, you got on a bus & made the long trek to visit for a weekend.
The picture below was taken the first time Karen took the bus down to visit, in the winter of 1978. As c
ool silly as my local group of friends were, we decided to create handmade signs, don party hats & paper horns, to give her a fanfare arrival when she got off the bus. We were given more than a few strange looks but what did we care, we were 16!
Karen & I stayed in touch for a number of years, but as happens in life, once we began having families, our worlds just got busy & for no other reason than not living within close proximity of one another, we fell out of touch.
That is, until a few years ago when we reconnected through Facebook. The upside of social media.
It has been over 25 years since we have seen one another. Until today.
Karen & her husband Paul, own a beautiful piece of property, formerly a family farm where Paul’s father enjoyed the hobby of tapping a few trees on the land to make maple syrup. Their son has inherited the love of the trade from his grandfather, expanding to now tapping over 2500 trees on the property.
Having recently taken down an old barn to build a new one, I was interested in purchasing some of the barn wood, which is what led us to our visit after all of these years.
Within minutes of our arrival, I was reminded of the reasons we so quickly became friends all those years ago. It was as if no time had passed, as we chatted away catching up on each other’s lives.
I think this is the beauty of true friendship. Whether you are friends who see each other on a regular basis or friends who reconnect after 25 years, the ease with which you share one another’s company is a testament to the reason you became friends in the first place.
Loaded up with beautiful barn wood and a few litres of fresh maple syrup, as we departed with full hearts, we vowed to not let another 25 years pass before we meet again. In fact, we hope to go back when the sap is running to help with the harvest of this years maple syrup.
Thank you for such a fabulous day my dear friend. How wonderful to have been able to reconnect after all of these years & still enjoy the pleasure of each others company. The gift of good friends knows no time.