Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold.

We sang that song in elementary school girl scouts while holding hands in a circle. Then we’d pass around a squeeze to let our neighbors know we cared. Coincidentally, two of the girls from that circle have remained two of my very best friends. They knew me when I wore pig tails and pink slouch socks. When a satisfying Saturday afternoon was achieved with a Kraft macaroni and cheese lunch on the trampoline. We had American Girl tea parties and slumber party fashion shows that eventually evolved into malt beverages and backyard bonfires.

My group of golden gals expanded in high school. Double dates to the drive-in and prom dress shopping. These are the girls who appreciate sledding through farm fields and driving the city circuit on a Friday night. They were the first to visit after my jaw surgery because I knew they wouldn’t judge. They made me laugh before I was even able to stretch a smile.

Then there are the few that I met in college. We lived together and cooked holiday meals together and primped and partied together. We wore matching outfits on Halloween and drank green beer on St. Patty’s Day. Late night runs for pints of Ben & Jerry, dorm room dance parties, roadtrips and worldly trips, foam parties and toga parties. We held back each other’s messy hair and consoled each other’s broken hearts.

And, yes, I have some golden guys in my life, too. The ones that I met on the elevator between the first floor and tenth floor of my freshman dorm. We decorated their Christmas tree with Yuengling bottles and pizza boxes. One offered to switch his flip-flops for my stilettos to soothe my blistered toes (or maybe it was my suggestion, but he obliged never the less!). One helped me to move four times in one year, carrying my desk up and down the streets and my circa-1970s television up and down the stairs.

They may tease me about my accent and at-times-too-wide-smiles. But I love them. They’re the irreplaceable ones. They challenge me and support me and have helped to mold me into the woman I am today. I love their quirks and histories and dramas. They’ve each played a unique and important role in my life. Sadly, we’re now scattered across the country, even the world. We gather for the occasional reunion, wedding, holiday. And I miss them. I wish that I could reach out and squeeze them to remind them that I care.

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