Okay, this is Lenora. You knew I'd have to have some shoes in there, right? I have lots of good friends now. It's such a blessing to have girlfriends. (I'll get to the shoes in a minute.) When I was growing up, it seemed hard for me to make friends at school. I was the country bumpkin who didn't hang with the social set in our small town. I guess I was an outcast, but that's okay. Because I was alone with my thoughts a lot, I think it helped me to become a writer. Anyway, I was the youngest of seven children. So I was what I call a "lonely child." I was also very shy (hard to believe for those who know me now.) I had a few good friends growing up but when I got married and moved away from that small town and the farm, I discovered I'd have to reach out to people if I wanted friends. But I truly found a pack of friends when I got involved in church after being away for a few years. There I met a group of women over twenty years ago who are still my friends now. We've watched our children grow up together, we've been through births and weddings and funerals together and we've laughed and cried together. We've even had fights and disagreed with each other but we're still friends. I had to learn that having a friend doesn't mean you'll have someone just like you and that friends don't have to be perfect. And, neither do I. You know you have a good friend when you try on clothes together and one of you gets stuck in a strange "girdle" type undergarment or a too tight cocktail dress. Only a true friend would help out in that kind of situation, after she stopped laughing, of course. You know you have a true friend when one of you gets food poisoning and the other one is willing to nurse you until you feel better. And you know you have a true friend when you go shoe shopping and try to hide the evidence from your husband and she whispers, "You can put those shopping bags in my trunk for now if you want to." You know you have a true friend when she takes the time to lather you with sunscreen at the beach so you won't burn. And you know you have a true friend when you get stopped for speeding and she leans over and says to the nice officer "Do you know you're about to give a ticket to a famous writer, sir?" and somehow convinces him to give you just a warning. These are just some of the adventures I've had with my friends. And some adventures shall remain a secret until we all die! But that's the beauty of friends. They're like shoes--some are as comfortable as your old sandals, others are all girly and dressy and ready to take on the world, some are warm and fuzzy like your favorite bedroom slippers and some are as solid and sturdy as your favorite walking shoes. Friends, just as shoes, come in all colors and shapes and styles. Isn't it nice to know that no matter what kind of day you're having, you can call an old friend and most likely she'll come running to be there for you. This is the beauty of frienship....."our sandals have become old because of the very long journey"--Joshua 9:13 Even though our sandals might now be old, our friendships have become rich with memories and the patina of a lasting love. And this journey of friendship will continue to evolve and grow through laughter and tears. And a few shoe clearance sales, too.