My friend called this week to explain something I’d never considered.
Great friendship comes down to a stack of pancakes.
Her sweet call was apparently prompted by a visit with another friend of hers.
A friend who has just filed for divorce.
“Being there for her reminded me how you were there for me,” my friend said in a voicemail that I know I will keep for a long time. “How years ago you were there for me during my divorce, how every Saturday for at least nine months, you faithfully came out to breakfast with me. By my count, that’s 36 pancakes. 36 pancakes that got me through a dark time. I just want to thank you again for everyone of those pancakes.”
This is where our versions of the same story diverge.
Sure, I remember those Saturday morning breakfasts.
Fluffy buttermilk pancakes, melting butter oozing down the sides, a pool of maple syrup for dipping, as I’m a pancake dipper, not drencher.
I remember looking forward with great anticipation to that Saturday morning date, as well.
It’s just that I remember the story as my friend getting me through a tough time, not the other way around.
I remember being new in town and recently dumped by a long-term boyfriend who I had thought was The One.
Yeah, you remember him. You had one of those, too?
I remember it like this: I knew very few people in town. But at least every Saturday morning, there would be my friend’s laugh, her honesty, her friendship. And someone else’s tears.
Yes, some weeks, those could be some salty pancakes.
There’s also the small matter that my math for this story works out differently.
Truly, I think my friend remembers a Jenny Craig version.
One pancake per week?
That doesn’t compute with my “He dumped me who cares if I gain 10 lbs?” memory of the story.
Oh no, there was at least a short stack of pancakes served up each of those Saturdays.
Which makes mine a 108 pancake memory.
I do believe I still have those fat jeans stuffed in the back of my closet to prove my point.
The important thing is, my friend proved hers.
That even though, all these years later, living 500 miles apart, both happily married to better men than those who broke are hearts, you never forget a true friend.
A real friend.
The kind my friend will now be to her girlfriend who is facing her challenges.
“We’re going to be eating a lot of pancakes,” she said as she wrapped up her voicemail. “And I just wanted you to know you’ll be sitting with us at that counter in spirit for every single bite.”
So, Dear Reader, this column is for you.
You, who has had a friend there for pancakes. Who can’t remember who was really helping whom through a dark time.
Thank God, for you.
For our friends.
Now, would someone please pass the syrup?
I would love to know who was there for your proverbial stack of pancakes?
Find more uplifting stories on my website, DarynKagan.com.
Please catch my newspaper column each week in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Dayton Daily News and other newspapers across Ohio.