"Silver and Gold" by Deborah Jordan Aaron - Local St Augustine Online Magazine

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Silver and Gold
Counting the incredible treasures I've obtained in my life.
by Deborah Jordan Aaron

Recently, I’ve had a particular song stuck in my head, you know how that is, right? Just the one verse on constant replay, over and over and…well, you get it. You may even be hearing it now, especially if you spent any time in the Girl Scouts or in my case, as a Brownie. Not the Christmas song, the other one.
That’s right, the “round the circle” song we sang as children. Not stuck in your head yet? Let me help… “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold”

Just a bit of background on this childhood rhyme, turns out it’s been around for quite some time.  Originally written as a poem by Joseph Parry (21 May 1841 – 17 February 1903), a Welsh composer and musician, it’s a life lesson that stuck with me through the years. The original is even more profound.

New Friends and Old Friends - Joseph Parry

Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold.
New-made friendships, like new wine,
Age will mellow and refine.
Friendships that have stood the test -
Time and change - are surely best;
Brow may wrinkle, hair grow gray,
Friendship never knows decay.
For 'mid old friends, tried and true,
Once more we our youth renew.
But old friends, alas! may die,
New friends must their place supply.
Cherish friendship in your breastNew
is good, but old is best;
Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold.

Quite the message, it gave me pause to think about the relationships in my life. My treasures, my friends. At 50 plus years of age I can look back at the many wonderful people that have brought value to my life. Not all friendships are meant to stand the test of time. Situations change, sometimes it’s as simple as a matter of changing area codes, changing lifestyles, sometimes a bit more complicated, like change of common interests or possibly a change of heart. Doesn’t mean the relationships held no value, on the contrary, those interactions are all a part of what makes us who we are today. I truly believe that sharing with and caring about the people in our lives is what makes us shine. At least that has been my experience so far.

I’ve discovered that although my scale might fluctuate at times, and perhaps my wardrobe is sized like a clearance rack (it’s all over the place and trying something on is hit or miss…), there is always my constant, shiny, one-size fits all go to and that’s jewelry! Silver and Gold never cared if I’ve been
retaining water for 30 years, it doesn’t notice a bad hair day and I always feel special when those precious metals come out to play. Some I wear every day; some I’ve had for years and may go untouched for long periods of time, but when they come out, I love them like the first time I wore them. This may be coming off as a bit materialistic, I promise that’s not the case. You see, they are gifts from loved ones, mementos from traveling abroad, some of them mark a milestone or achievement in my life. I don’t have many, there’s quite a bit of space in my treasure chest, however, what’s there is precious.

You may very well be catching on to my “smack myself in the head and say, duh!” moment by now. The song, that crazy Girl Scout song that kept playing in my head!! It’s not like some kind of epiphany or anything like that, it’s more like my Guardian Angel has been singing in my ear, reminding me about the treasure map I’ve been tracking all this time. Thinking back, I’m reminded of all the times that X marked the spot where the silver was shining, or the rainbow’s end with the pots of gold. It’s been happening all my life, since day one to be exact…

My first official friend lived two houses away from me from the day we were born, we lived in that neighborhood until we graduated and married our first husbands and put on the bridesmaid dresses for each other (we were young and our brains weren’t fully developed yet, another story, another day). She’s smart, steady, kind and like a sister to me. We do mermaid school aka water aerobics together and laugh ourselves silly. I love when she comes over and we solve the problems of the world together. She did steal my invisible dog once but I got over that, sort of. Solid Gold.

My first marriage (mentioned earlier) ended but I got custody of my sister-in-law. We met when I was 17 and I guess she wasn’t impressed with me since she chose to feed me old, funky smelling hamburger disguised with spaghetti sauce. I think she was disappointed I didn’t hurl (she later confessed to it, racked with guilt I’m sure). As the years passed, she became a skilled and gifted registered nurse. Then there was the time when I was very sick from an infection that went undiagnosed, she figured out what was going on, rushed me to the hospital and saved my life. Literally. She was a bridesmaid in both my weddings. Gold Medal.

There was this guy I dated back in the 90’s (loser) and the best part of that relationship were his friends. He introduced me to the Queen of the Universe (official title bestowed by me). I’d never met anyone quite like her, even to this day. There is something about her that is, well, dynamic. We are very different, she was PTA President and cheerleading coach extraordinaire, I was traveling the globe and sending postcards. She’s very Italian, as is her family, I’m as Southern as they come. I think it was love at first sight! She does like to yell a lot but I think it’s a Jersey thing. Rarely a day passes that we aren’t on the phone together. She stood next to me at my wedding. 24K Gold with a Tiara.

Tampa, Florida was my home for about 11 years, basically, all of the 90’s, plus some. Amazing city, awesome people. I met a kindred spirit there. We worked together for a time and shared a love of art, among many other things. What stood out for me was her integrity and strength. Sometimes you witness things that make no sense, like how some of the best people seem to have to overcome the most difficult obstacles. Cancer found her. She kicked its ass. I watched as she conquered. She is my earth angel and I cherish our bond. Golden Halo.

My very special guy friend, whom I’ve watched grow into a strong, handsome leader in his field, is an inspiration. I liked him right away and asked if he would escort me to see Tom Jones at the Peabody, back in ‘06. You know he jumped at it. We may have had a few (too many) shots of Goldschlager during the show and he may have thrown up all over the side of my Jeep after the concert but I was able to scrape it off…eventually. Been friends ever since. I was fortunate enough to spend my 49th birthday with him in New York City. That morning we had breakfast at Tiffany’s (lots of Silver and Gold in there!) and rode a Pedi-cab through Central Park. It is one of my favorite days, ever. Oh yeah, he kicked cancers ass too. As a grateful survivor, he formed a charity and raises thousands of dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He’s marrying his partner, a kind and charming man, and it fills my heart to know that he has found true love. We are coming to our 10-year mark soon. Gold Standard.

I’ve been blessed to have made some new friends recently, one in particular, a lovely lady who is nothing less than effervescent. She is a leader and a mentor and quite amazing. I honor her love of family and strength of faith. A very successful and educated business woman in her own right, she makes time for anyone and everyone who needs her help. Some people are placed in our paths for very specific reasons and I know she is one of them, because she has the same qualities all the others on my list possess and they are honor, respect and gratitude. Surrounding yourself with positive people is an important key to a happy life. Shining Silver Star.

Some long lost treasures have resurfaced in my life recently and I couldn’t be happier. The girl who was born the day after me, our Mother’s shared a hospital room and we shared many happy times throughout our school years. She made me try out for Flag Corps in high school. We both made the squad. When we got together again, it was as though we hadn’t seen each other in months instead of years. She’s delightful and happens to own a successful salon where she gave me the best hairstyle I’ve had in 15 years, score! Golden highlights!! Then there’s the pretty girl who stood next to me in my 6th grade class picture, whose humor and friendship never failed and by example, showed me that it has never been the color of one’s skin that separates people, it’s the lack of intimacy. Talking, listening, learning and of course, shared laughter, the great equalizer! We are set to go garage sale-ing and do lunch very soon, a day of which I’m sure will be an adventure! Gold Star.

The people I’ve mentioned are my treasures, my golden rays of sunshine in the best of times and my silver linings thru the worst. They are strong, kind, generous, funny and fearless. Their strength of character is built on integrity and compassion. Through their actions and patience, I have received wisdom, honesty, loyalty and love. There are more people than whom I’ve listed and I could fill volumes with their influence in my life but I’ll save that for another day. Back to the thing with the jewelry, this crew will tell me all about myself, my hair, my wardrobe, my home, but guess what? It’s all good! They focus on the positive, they celebrate my triumphs and if there is a negative, they help guide me through it. No judgement zone here. How did I get so lucky? What did I do to deserve this caliber of friendships? Whatever it is, I’m grateful for them. I will polish these relationships with gratitude so that they continue to shine as bright as a silver moon. I will value them for the way they enrich my spirit now and all the way into our golden years, together.

Note: This is my personal experience; I’m living it every day. When I watch the news and read the headlines, seeing so much hate and violence out there, I have to remind myself that the foundation for lasting, healthy relationships is love. Love for each other, love for our planet and love for our higher power. Most importantly, love yourself enough to recognize that the only two colors that matter, are Silver and Gold. Go call your friend and throw some shine their way, you both deserve it.
Deborah Jordan Aaron, Advocare Independent Distributor
386.478.1066 office  -   386.847.2520 cell  -  [email protected]

Deborah Jordan Aaron is also an artist, photographer, writer and lover of life.  She shares life lessons, insights, healthy living advice and motivational and inspirational messages on this online magazine and in her blog at http://deborahjordanaaron.tumblr.com/
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