've known Freda most of my life. Her mother, Frances, drove me to kindergarten every day when I was five. However, it wasn't until I was a freshman in high school and we had a class together that I really got to know her.
She is two years older than me, and back in those days we both sang second soprano in high school chorus. There were only a few of us, and just like in band, the director seated us according to our voice strength. Freda was first chair; I was second.
We immediately clicked and by her senior year and my sophomore season, we were friends. She picked me up for church every Sunday, we went to ballgames together and often spent the night at one or the other's house.
In due time, we were best friends, later college roommates and she is my daughter, Allison's godmother.
Denise has been my sister from another mister for the past 18 years.
We met when I began working at a newspaper where she was the feature writer.
It didn't take long to know that while we have so many differences, there were even more commonalities. We were inseparable from 1996-2005, when I moved to Florida. My son, Nick, often marveled at just how much we are alike.
"I swear," Nick said once, "it's like you two share one brain cell."
I didn't know if I should be flattered or insulted.
Freda lives in Lexington, Ky.; Denise in Carnesville, Ga. There is great distance between them and Williston. And like all long distance relationships, ours was put to the test.
For a while, Freda and I drifted apart but when she made the three hour trip to my uncle's visitation last summer, we picked up right where we left off.
In April, she and I met in Asheville for a long weekend to strengthen our bond.
Denise and I text often, see each other more and often meet up for girls' weekends.
A month ago, Allison got married on Tybee Island, Ga. and for the first time ever the two of them met.
Denise, her daughter, Whitney, and I spent Friday on the beach and waited for Freda's arrival.
As I introduced them later that evening, I said, "It's only fitting that my best friend from my girlhood meets the best friend of my womanhood."
And that's all it took. They came together like peanut butter and jelly.
We laughed, we ate, we swam, we went to a club in search of karaoke and we watched my daughter marry the man of her dreams.
It was a glorious weekend.
It's not every woman who can say she has multiple best girlfriends–and I do, because you can throw in the two Teresas, an Annette, a Susan, an Alice and perhaps even a Tammy.
Whether it was a best friend from childhood or the one who saw me through the dark times of adult life, my friends are the best.
Back in high school chorus we sang, "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold."
I beg to differ. In nature, naturally occuring silver and gold is called electrum. It's rare–like friendships that span a lifetime.
But even rarer is rhodium, the most valuable precious metal there is. And I'm blessed because my friends are indeed rhodium.
Freda, Denise and I will have to work on the second stanza to that song now. It's going to be amazing.