Angels in Subarus

December 22, 2011


There’s a famous line in the Christmas movie, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ staring Jimmy Stewart, that says, “Every time you hear a bell ring, an angel gets its wings.” When I first heard that line decades ago, it made me pause. Implicit in that statement is the question, “How did angels get from place to place before they had wings?” If they used their celestial minds to transport them here and there, why the need for wings to begin with? It wasn’t making much sense to me. Recently, I had an awakening of sorts and solved this angelic transportation conundrum: Angels drive Subarus. I know this because my friend Linda drives a Subaru.

Linda has been my dearest friend since 5th grade when, still vaguely smelling of manure from my morning stable cleaning routine, I stood up during ‘show and tell’ class clutching a horse’s bridle and reins. It was friendship at first sight. Horse people are a different breed; pun intended and embraced. Finding another horseperson, especially during the hormonal storms of adolescence, can be a saving grace at a time when peer pressure tends to squeeze prudent decision making processes from our brains like toothpaste from a tube and leaves us virtually immune to adult guidance. You have to be sensible around horses, simply because they can kill you. That’s why it’s called, ‘good horse sense’.

Linda had and still has more of that ‘good horse sense’ than me. She graduated from college with a degree in Fine Arts and married afterward; I pursued a degree but dropped out to marry. We both divorced our first husbands but not before I had birthed two children into an unwholesome situation. She remains childless by choice but has mothered enough foreign exchange students to have her own zip code. She purchased a respectable and lucrative Auction House; I worked for her. She remarried and purchased a home; I rented an apartment and remained a single parent for a time, struggling to make frayed ends meet. She and her husband Jack played polo and traveled to Europe while I watched Little League games and attended PTA meetings and counseling sessions. Her art studio is larger than some places I’ve lived. Her second husband adored her, and she him. It was a phenomenal partnership and a lengthy one based upon respect, devotion, compassion, understanding and true love; something rarely experienced in this disposable world where relationships and prescriptions share a similar expiration period. My second huband? He left me for some nebulous something else, yet to be discovered. It happens. He didn’t want to hurt me he said, but felt it best if he had to do it, to do it quickly like, ‘removing an adhesive bandage’. Somehow, I’ve erred in appreciating the bandage analogy. Yes, Linda’s life and mine have taken divergent paths over the years. Furthermore, we live states apart. Miraculously, these differences have made little difference in our friendship, but only enhanced it.

This Christmas, she’s driving her Subaru from Maryland to Massachusetts for a visit and I am as excited about that as a 5-year-old on Christmas morning. She’s bridged the miles with compassion, wired me money, cried with me when I couldn’t cry for myself anymore, pulled laughter from my gut when I thought all hope was lost, and shown me nothing but grace…angelic qualities made flesh, bone and blood.

Someone once said that friends are angels without wings. It’s true. I know because my angel drives a Subaru.

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