Last night was my monthly Pokeno evening. Pokeno is a game similar to Bingo, but played with playing cards instead of numbered balls. I’ve been playing Pokeno for almost four years with a group of women from my neighborhood. When the group first started I knew only a couple of the women, now I count them all amongst my good friends. We are in some ways very similar and, in some ways, very different, but we all share a friendship that’s based on more than just living in the same neighborhood. We’ve had babies born, family deaths and surgeries; through it all, we’ve helped one another with prayers, support and prepared and delivered meals. We keep in touch throughout the month with e-mail and an occasional “field trip” – Washington Square one time, pedicures another; and, once a month, we gather at one home or another to play the game that brought us together. We eat, we drink, we laugh and gossip – the rule is, “What happens at Pokeno, stays at Pokeno.”
This is really the first time in my life that I’ve had a group of girlfriends. My husband is my absolute, forever and always best friend and we, as a couple, have a few other couples – two specifically that are our best friends, sometimes more like family than family, and I have a couple of other friends that I put high on my list, but this is my first experience with a group of girlfriends. I’ve made a few new friends over the last couple of years, when I’ve been in travel groups and I’ve seemed to “click” with a couple of different women. I felt like I’d known each forever, yet we were, really, just new acquaintances. Recently someone said to me that sometimes you don’t make good friends, you recognize them – I like that idea.
I know that I’ve always valued good friends, but I think as I’ve matured, I’ve come to realize just how special it is to have a friend – whether it’s a spousal best friend, lifelong family friends, a group of women who love to laugh together or someone I just met, I truly do value the connection of friendship and I think the advancing years just make the value seem even higher – yet another example of the positive side of getting older!