Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Gift of Friendship

The Lord has blessed me with many wonderful friends, one of whom I’m honoring here today. Josie’s birthday is this week, an event we have already celebrated along with another friend, Beth, and our three husbands -hence the pretty package bow in her hair. She probably regrets letting me snap her picture, but I’m glad she did. It reminds me what a gift she has been to me.

It’s hard to believe, but Josie and I met when we were around the ages our children are now. We got acquainted though our involvement in their activities. Somewhere, in the midst of baseball games, children’s birthday parties and overnights, a friendship was forged. We have shared many milestones and made a mountain of memories, many of them revolving around her specialty…shopping. We have laughed, cried, and prayed together too many times to count.

Have you been blessed with such a friend? If so, tell me how your friendship resembles or differs from the one I’ve described. I also challenge you to find a way to honor your friend, because friendship is truly a gift that should never be taken for granted.

Soon after I started writing, Josie jokingly asked when I was going to write about her. It was a challenge I couldn’t refuse. So here’s to my fabulous friend and the queen of shopping.

Shopping Expert, Fabulous Friend
Dedicated to Josie Andrew

Her husband is a softball star;
one son plays basketball.
Baseball is the others’ game;
her girl loves volleyball.
My friend is not an athlete
but she outlasts them all
in the venue of her choosing—
the local shopping mall.

A funny, smart, and perky gal,
she wears size six petite,
tracking sales and fashion trends,
cute sneakers on her feet.
She sifts through bargain tables
unwilling to retreat
‘til she proclaims her victory,
waving a sales receipt.

She’s thrifty and she’s practical,
savvy about textiles.
Scouring fashion magazines
she learns the latest styles.
She’s memorized store layouts,
arrangement of the aisles,
and routes to stores and outlet malls
within three hundred miles.

Her shopping is methodical,
not careless or slipshod.
Those who dare accompany her
observe amazed and awed.
Shoppers half her age give up,
exhausted and slack-jawed;
her stamina and strategy
they reverently applaud.

I’ve been under her tutelage
For twenty-something years—
shopped for nearly everything
from soup to black brassieres.
Managers know her by name,
and so do most cashiers.
I have seen her wit and prowess
reduce grown men to tears.

Don’t think her superficial,
her profundity I’ll plead;
kind-hearted, loving, faithful
and virtuous indeed.
She isn’t moved by money
or galvanized by greed.
She’d give the Ricci off her back
to help someone in need.

Sometimes we plan a shopping day,
sometimes a whole weekend,
I seek her sound advisement;
ask what she’d recommend.
On her candid opinions
I cheerfully depend.
No person knows me better than
my boutique loving friend.

The bonding that has taken place
as we’ve trekked sale to sale
could only have occurred on
the turf they call “retail.”
It underlies our zest and
attention to detail.
No doubt it’s aided by the fact
that we are both female.

Through happy times and difficult
we’ve watched our friendship bloom.
We’ve shared our deepest secrets,
and food we can’t consume.
We’ve swapped our kids and coupons
and tried on French perfume.
We’ve laughed so hard we had to run
to find the Ladies’ room.

Frugality describes my friend;
she’s also very smart.
She has refined her hobby
to something of an art.
Only things of quality
are placed into her cart.
I’m honored that she found a place
for me within her heart.

--by Sharlyn Guthrie


  1. Sharilyn! Amazing poetry, and what wonderful tribute to your friend. I imagine you relived many memories as you penned this poem.

  2. Reading your poetry brought back my days at Cedar Valley and Cedar Rapids...they were the best of times for growing our children. Although I never shopped with either of you, I found your friendships real. Thank you. And yes, God gave me a lifelong friend as well. And she is one that many of you befriended, too. Sue Bader has brought a spiritual bond to my life that has encouraged me in life and in the Lord. I'm like Josie who loved to shop, but my friend, Sue, was a difficult one to enjoy that with. But Sue was on a mission of soul shopping....One day we went to the Amana's to seek out their delights...and Sue was no where to be found...but outside on a bench next to an old man...and she stayed there most of time in that shop...she continued to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with him. After all, she would always say..."What if Jesus comes back today...and he wouldn't get another chance at heaven." I know you and Josie share the gospel as you "shop around" as well. I'm thankful to know people who bear to give out that message no matter where they go. May we continue in building our friendships here and especially ones that will go into eternity. Bonnie Laux


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