Tagging along

Susan Manzke
Columnist Susan Manzke (right) has been lifelong friends with her pal Joyce since they were six years old.

This March our daughter Rebecca and her husband, Andy, marked their 13th anniversary. They decided to drive down to Chicago to celebrate and they took me along for the ride.

I did not hang around with the happy couple during their whole stay. They dropped me off at my friend Joyce’s home for the weekend. There I met up with my sister, too.

Joyce and I have been best friends since we were six. We found each other in first grade and immediately bonded. I think that happened because we had/have the same quirky sense of humor and were/are basically shy, too.

I hated lunch time during elementary school. The reason was because Joyce went home for lunch. She lived close to the school and could walk home. I, on the other hand, a bus kid, had to eat my bagged sandwich without her company.

One childhood memory I had with Joyce was when we counted clouds. To do this we lay in the grass and gave the clouds numbers. We also decided which numbered clouds we owned and where they would take us — the more outrageous the place the better.

Our four children started life calling Joyce, Aunt Joyce. Now it’s just Joyce. Both evenings when we were in Illinois, Rebecca and Andy joined us for a homemade supper and a game of Dominoes — Rebecca won both games.

Saturday we ate turkey. Everything was all prepared earlier, so only needed reheating. “Joyce, where are all the turkey bones?” I asked my friend. Just as I thought, she had stored the carcass in the freezer so no critters would raid her garbage in search of food.

I then claimed the bagged frozen bones for our barn cats. It wasn’t until I was ready to thaw the turkey that I noticed a lot of meat was still attached. That’s when I decided to use some of the turkey carcass for soup. Too bad Joyce is in Illinois and can’t easily come to my home to share. I’m sure she’d like my soup as much as I liked her turkey — the cats eventually got their fair share of the bones. I never let on that we ate a portion ourselves.

Last summer, Joyce gave a home to an older Pomeranian named Candy. She wasn’t quite ready to replace her Shih Tzu named Butch, but she did because her mother, Emily asked her to.

Candy the Pomeranian is getting used to being pampered with table scraps at the home of Susan Manzke's friend, Joyce.

Candy wasn’t used to being pampered, but she soon found out that both Emily and Joyce were good at making her feel special. Emily even started dropping bits of food off her plate for Candy’s benefit, even lengths of spaghetti. Now Joyce has taken over dropping bits of food for Candy, but maybe not spaghetti, at least not too often.

Since I tagged along with Rebecca and Andy, I was left without a car, but that was okay. First, I don’t care to drive in that now busy neighborhood  and second, if Joyce is able, she’ll transport me where I want to go — this time we visited with my cousin Barb who has been having health issues, lucky for us, my sister’s cold was better and she joined us, too. The four of us reminisced for hours over lunch. Boy, time flew by that afternoon.

It is good to have old friends. This just reminded me of an old girl scout song: “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold.” Joyce is definitely gold. Oops! I didn’t mean to get too sappy, but that’s just what came out today.

FYI: Bob and I plan to be at the Wisconsin State Farmer booth (North Tent 0128) at the WPS Farm Show at the EAA in Oshkosh the end of this month. Like everyone involved, we have our fingers crossed for decent spring weather. Make sure you come by and say hi.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;