Sharp pencils & friendship

November 20, 2010
What does it mean to be a friend?

It’s a simple recipe, for me. The only two ingredients are unconditional love and lots of laughter.

My posse of fabulous girlfriends coast-to-coast
know the same recipe.

I‘m also lucky enough to have a handful of brotherly male friends who have the same cookbook. And now, my ex-brother-in-law {I’ve always been crazy about him} is again my brother-in-law.
Lucky me!

I value these relationships infinitely more because my immediate family members are just male and female siblings, rather than “brother” and “sister,” which connote something entirely different.

When I saw this photo of sharp pencils,
I was reminded of someone with whom I was brotherly-close years ago.

I was about to marry someone he didn’t think I should marry. My then-fiance was a good man and a good friend. There was absolutely nothing wrong with him, except that I wasn’t romantically in love with him.

“I‘d rather you poke your eye out with a sharp pencil
than marry him,” G. said.
And then stopped speaking to me
when I married the guy.

Let me point out that my then-husband
was hardly a man who would make poke-your-eye-out-with-a-sharp-pencil a better option.

He was and remains a very nice man.
Just not right for me.

An important part of friendship is speaking up when you think someone’s about to step in dog poop. But the message is best conveyed lovingly. Because if the friend decides to step in it, as I did, it’s their life and their decision. No one gets a vote.

The unconditional love in my friendship recipe means being there for friends even when they make decisions I don’t like.

I like connections and have gone to great lengths to keep my most valuable ones even as my life repeatedly took me thousands of miles distant.

Culling them has always been difficult. And yet, as I age, I reluctantly find it’s necessary.

Whenever I sharpen a pencil, I think about G.

And that, when pared down to the essentials, life has to be about love and laughter. When they’re gone, so’s the friendship.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Follow Carol


Here you’ll find my blog, some of my essays, published writing, and my solo performances. There’s also a link to my Etsy shop for healing and grief tools offered through A Healing Spirit.


I love comments, so if something resonates with you in any way, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by–oh, and why not subscribe so you don’t miss a single post?


Subscribe to my Blog

Receive notifications of my new blog posts directly to your email.