Summer is making a promise to appear once again and I am thinking today about the way life can change in that short season.
When we were younger, summer meant a break, a breath, a transition onto the next phase in our lives, the next grade, the next chapter.
Now that I’m all grown up, it’s changed a bit. Summer means hustle and heat and a chance to get things done around here. It’s not a transition but a season we look forward to so we can warm up and make plans.
But sometimes when you’re in the middle of making plans for your life, your life changes.
That’s what happened to me almost nine years ago today. I opened the classifieds to look for a summer job to get me through the slow months between touring in the spring and fall, and I ran across a job opening for a Special Event planner at a performing arts school in Fargo, ND.
I was a year out of college, planning a wedding and getting ready for the rest of my life. The job was going to be a stopover, a temporary position, a stepping stone to the happily ever after.
Turns out on my way I found what have become some of the most important people in my life. I fell in love with them between flipping burgers, moving picnic tables and changing the lights in the porta potties. They made me laugh while we worked our asses off in the 104 degrees of the hottest summer of my life.
And when that summer was over, we just held on to each other. Not out of some master plan to never lose touch, but because we liked each other. Because when we meet up we get a break, a laugh, a chance to be our true selves together before rushing back off into the real world, the one we were imagining that summer, the one that we never seem prepared for.
The one that’s a lot easier with these friends on the other end of the line.
We’re scattered all over the mid-west now, married or paired off or single, but we meet up when we can. Just a few weeks ago it was flinging ourselves down a mountain in Colorado.
It seems we always find an excuse to drive or fly in the direction of each other.
And so I was thinking about my friends when I wrote my column this week. I was thinking about them and so I wrote about them, but maybe didn’t get to say exactly what I wanted to say in the end. Because it turns out it’s hard to conjure up words to describe how lucky I am to have found a set of people who are just so perfectly themselves that they make me believe in all different kinds of love.
And in summers that can change your life…
Coming Home: Stepping stone job fosters lifetime of friendship
by Jessie Veeder