Never underestimate the value of friendship

Miriam Nelson
News Editor

I’ve always had a wide circle of friends and am grateful for those who were in my life for only a brief period, as well as for the ones who have been lifelong friends.

I never really had much trouble making friends until I moved to the Twin Cities. I suppose it was the sheer size coupled with the fact that I never had the good fortune to work for stable companies the first decade I was there. I remember expecting the people I met to welcome me with open arms — who couldn’t use another friend?

What I failed to factor in was the fact that many of the people who lived there were natives and not transplants like me. They already had their circles of friends and rarely felt the need to expand those borders.

I would imagine that a great deal of my sense of community came from my parents, who were transplants to this area. Working at the “children’s home,” it was their job to make these kids feel welcome in what must have been strange and terrifying times for them. Many times, the children who came to live at Homme were there because one parent had died and the other had to work to support the family.

Many times I’ve thought about what it must have been like for a single mother or father to entrust total strangers to the care of their family. It must have been a very strange feeling of trepidation and also relief. The bonus of having parents work in child care is that you got to witness compassion and understanding of the human condition on a daily basis.

I’m sure their work was not always easy, but I never really saw too much of that as they always kept any troubles at work. The payoff for them was certainly not financial, but their wealth in friendships was astounding.
Mom and Dad weren’t too much older than some of the families that stayed there. As the children left to create a lives and families of their own, they often stopped back to visit. Everyone was welcome at our home, and several became longtime friends.

There was one man who was particularly colorful in his expressions and exuberance for life. One Thanksgiving he stopped by the house to tell Mom and Dad of his latest adventure. He wasn’t an educated man, but he had a vast amount of interesting life experiences from his years in the trucking business.

As a young adult, home from college, I was fascinated listening to this man weave a tale that seemed, at times, highly unlikely. I learned a lot that day about meeting people where they are at. Mom and Dad never judged or argued with him. They just graciously let him tell his tales and were happy to set an extra place at the table for him.