Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Friends, A Way Of Life

I'm not sure about the rest of the world, but friendship on Neff Road consisted of more than just those we hung out with at school or those who lived next door. Friendship was a lifetime of in part a shared history, a shared way of life.

Not many people moved to our area when I was a kid. In fact, most of our parents and grandparents had known one another their entire lives. Farms were farmed with grown sons. Daughters canned and gardened with their mothers. Quilts were made by the women in the family. Implements were shared by the farming men. A way of life bound families together.

Neff Road was the same. Farmers farmed together. Garden produce was shared. If a cow got loose, everyone chased it. If someone was ill, food was taken in and neighbors sat by the sick bed. When someone died, meals were again taken in, chores done, children babysat and families embraced by loving friends and neighbors. We all felt the loss.

My parents seemed to always go to graduations, weddings, funerals and everything in between. Mother was always baking, buying gifts, crocheting hats and booties. She had a drawer full of things she kept handy in case a gift was needed. With one phone call for help, Mom would jump into action dropping whatever she was doing to help a friend.

As I have said before, the people on Neff Road were our family. A playmate was a close as the end of our lane. The parents were parents to us all. Their homes were unlocked and always waiting for us to come for a visit.

Yes, homes were unlocked. Mother always had a bed made in case someone needed one. It was not unusual to wake in the morning to find someone recently risen from that bed at the breakfast table. Mom would be chatting away, tossing eggs over and frying bacon. Dad would be on toast duty, pouring coffee and laughing. Our door was the true revolving door.

Painter Creek Church was our other neighborhood. I don't remember a time in my life that didn't involve my friends there. We had gone from cradle roll to high school. We went from the children to the church leaders. Most Sunday's a church friend came home with me, or I went home with them. When we stepped through the door of one another's houses, we were home once more with people who loved us. Friendship was special on Neff Road.

I grew up with wonderful friends in my life. Most of the children I had known before I started school, were in my life until I graduated. Many of those same friends are still my friends today. When I go back to Ohio, I catch up with Geneva, Brenda, Vivian and Shirley. On Facebook, I have found old friends or they have found me. Neff Road friends are friends forever.

Yes, I moved away from Neff Road. In the Loxley family, there are no boys who stayed in farming. Most of us have left Ohio. Yet, we know that when we return, we will return to the friendships that remain and a history that binds us to the place back the lane.....the lane on Neff Road.

No comments: