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Are you an Evergreen Friend?

Michelle and Pamela, 1974

Evergreen trees are always green; they have leaves in all four seasons. An Evergreen Friend is always a friend.  An Evergreen Friend is loving and faithful.

An Evergreen Friend forgives and offers grace.

Michelle Cochrane Rusk has been my friend since Kindergarten. She is an Evergreen Friend. We met on the first day of class in the basement of Mayfair United Church  on 33rd street in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

We learned how to tell time and read at the same public school. We attended summer camp together and sang, “It only takes a spark to get a fire going.” We heated rocks in the campfire to put at the foot of our sleeping bags and we learned that Jesus loves us.

A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.
Elbert Hubbard

In grade school I was playing catch with Michelle and another friend, Marilyn, in an open field in front of my house. I threw the ball over Michelle’s head and while she ran to retrieve the ball, I convinced Marilyn to run into my house with me and hide.

The image of Michelle’s back as she ran to catch the ball is a vivid 20 second video clip in my brain. An image I regret.

Michelle forgave me.

I was in Michelle’s wedding. I sewed my bridesmaid dress the day before the wedding and arrived a few minutes late at her house to drive to the church.  I was sewing the sleeves onto my dress when I was supposed to be at her house helping her get dressed.

Michelle forgave me.

We both moved to Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She lived with her husband in a duplex with two cats. I had an apartment and attended the Alberta College of Art, studying photography.

I stayed in her duplex to take care of her cats when she went on a vacation with her husband. I took a hand-knit sweater from her trunk without asking. When I placed it back in her trunk with a stain on it, I hoped she wouldn’t notice. She noticed.

Michelle forgave me.

I called her last night to ask her if she remembered me throwing the ball and hiding. She didn’t remember. She also didn’t remember me hiding her stained sweater in her trunk.

“I only remember you sewing your dress the day of my wedding because it was funny.”

“Why did you forgive me?”

“Once you become my friend. I’ll never let you go.”

Michelle lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. I live in Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania. The last time I saw her was over seven years ago, when I drove to Canada from Minnesota.

Michelle remembered I had a beautiful, big, brown, velvet bow in my hair when we went on a trip in kindergarten to a farm at the University of Saskatchewan. But she doesn’t remember I was mean to her.

Michelle doesn’t lose her leaves  in all the seasons of friendship. She forgives and forgets. She is an Evergreen Friend. And, for that I am grateful.

Thank you Michelle.

Are you an Evergreen Friend?

An Evergreen Friend is always green.


About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • Berdeane Bodley

    Those stories brought tear to my eyes, the one written by my daughter & the answer from her friend Michelle, to know them is to love them & I do with all my heart……..Mom

  • This was lovely to read. I appreciated it very much. I hope I can always be an
    Evergreen friend. You are very special to me and we remain
    heart-connected regardless of time and distance. It was so nice to talk
    with you the other day. You wrote about the worst of yourself in the
    article, and forgot how much you gave to our friendship and the friendships we
    shared with Marilyn, Linda, and others. You have always had a great capacity to
    love, to laugh, to be creative, to risk, and to embrace life fully and you
    helped us do it too. I can’t imagine the teen years and the early
    twenties without you as part of it. Do you remember coming to our place
    in Calgary and making me a wonderful multi-course meal for supper just because
    you wanted to treat me? In your honesty to share your foibles, never
    forget your own incredible value and how much you give to the world. I
    love you, my friend.

  • I think I am an evergreen friend, but I have a hard time remembering people’s birthdays.

    • Kathleen, trees don’t send cards. Yes, I know people do. Evergreen Friends can be forgetful. I always think the most important aspect of an EF is forgiveness and loving at all times, even when no card comes.

  • I love the idea of an “evergreen friend.” What a beautiful concept and how lucky we all are if we have evergreen friends in our lives.

  • That is sweet! Friends like that are often hard to come by but are so worth holding onto when you find them. 🙂

    • Yes, they are Anastacia. I am grateful for my friends.

  • This is so beautiful, friendship is something to be celebrated, every day