“Surrounded by people who love life, you love it too; surrounded by people who don’t, you don’t.” ~Mignon McLaughlin

I began the day at the local grange’s very berry pancake breakfast. The pancakes were homemade and the entertainment was the fiddlers playing old time songs.  We sat with neighbors we had never met and the whole scene felt like I was an extra in a quaint movie scene. It was so basic and pure to eat berry-coated pancakes with strangers that I couldn’t believe I didn’t do it more.

The afternoon was filled with a fabulous excursion on a nearby lake in the boat of a friend of a friend I had never met. There were a lot of kids who hadn’t met before either; but here we all were,  laughing and learning about each other, listening to loud Bob Marley and taking turns on their bouncy tube.  Unknown people become friends easily when there is some fun involved.

The evening brought the only summer dinner party of the season so far. The group was small and intimate and also included several people I had never met. I always have potlucks and the food is always a testament to how well things work out without any planning. The mix of company was just as easy and before long we were singing an old Glen Campbell classic   “…I need you more than I want you and I want you for all time…” Strangers become fast friends when you are looking for what you have in common and when you can laugh.

It was a great day of possibility when the idea of discovering new friends and creating new relationships is only as limited as your own capacity to put yourself in places to meet them: to laugh and exchange stories with someone unknown and witness the simple transformation of becoming a friend.  After ten years of driving by the grange, and at least two of thinking of becoming a member, I finally joined  the local grange today.

It felt easy to say yes  to making new friends who plan berry pancake breakfasts and chicken barbeques.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “I don’t like that man.  I must get to know him better.” I am aware today of how many days I have lived and not looked for the new friends that might be strangers at the moment I stand next to them.  I know that transforming people into friends is harder in a grocery store line than on a the boat of a friend of a friend. But maybe it isn’t just the circumstance that prevents me from seeing that friend,  it might also be the way I am looking.