Friendships float free of time and distance.

Diane with Faye Crawford, right. Photograph: J Gerald Crawford
Diane with Faye Crawford, right. Photograph: J Gerald Crawford

WHEN SOMEONE ENTERS MY LIFE, I have no idea how long they will stay or what impact they will make on me. I am fortunate to have a life-long friend.

Dianne and I met in Mrs. Hubbard’s homeroom during our high school freshman year. She was a beautiful girl with lovely, long blonde hair, small hips, tiny waist, amply endowed, and had a distinct Arizona accent. She dazzled with a light-hearted laughter and playfulness. She had recently moved to Birmingham from Phoenix. She told me that I was the only student who welcomed her. An instant companionship was established. Although we took different paths after graduation, the geographic separation has not hindered our relationship. Even with the distance, we periodically manage some girl time and share milestones.

The gift of the hummingbird plate. Photograph: J Gerald Crawford
The gift of the hummingbird plate. Photograph: J Gerald Crawford

Over the years, Dianne has given me gifts. As a very young new bride, I was working in housewares in a downtown department store. She knew that I wanted a plastic flatware tray , and that I couldn’t afford to spend one dollar for it. She pretended to purchase it for herself. Then, she gave it to me. On our 50th anniversary, she sent us a Seymour Mann” Bernie “ Hummingbird plate. The birds are surrounded by Morning Glories. Her Papyrus Greeting card read: “Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time carrying our hopes for love, joy, and celebration. Its delicate grace reminds us that life’s rich beauty is everywhere and that every personal connection has meaning.”

As I rested on my patio, I heard a familiar whirling , spotted the first hummingbird of the spring, and I remembered that quote. The seemingly powerful yet delicate creature amazed me as I observed his unique flight abilities. He stroked his wings forwards and backwards pivoting up at its shoulder to rotate his wings . The spinning wings made a horizontal figure eight pattern in both directions. He perched on a striking Heavenly Blue Morning Glory and flittered on to a pink Althea blossom.

God's little helicopter on an Althea bloom. Photograph: J Gerald Crawford
God’s little helicopter on an Althea bloom. Photograph: J Gerald Crawford


With a minute twist , he changed directions instantly, and we had a close encounter! All of a sudden, he came to a miraculous halt in mid flight. I sat transfixed as it hovered in front of me. There seemed to be something in its being that made him want to soar through the air. He flew to the right, made a quick rollover upside down and with skillful maneuvering, he flew backwards! I marveled audibly, “He is God’s little helicopter!”

The English teacher in me made comparisons. Just like the hummingbird, a helicopter moves because of its several small wings called rotor blades that spin together around a shaft. The machine can , also, stop and stay in one place above the ground. Known as a whirly bird, a helicopter is capable of taking off and landing vertically, and fly in different directions.

This fascinating , energetic tiny bird made me smile. It brought me joy as it sought the sweetest nectar in the world of aromas. It reminded me to actively savor the beauty of each moment and to appreciate each person connected with it.

Dianne left an indelible impression upon me. She certainly made my life richer by her presence. We are no longer those young teenagers. We are now grandmothers. Like the hummingbird, we had our ups and downs. There were difficult obstacles in our journey, but we changed directions with endurance and preservation. We had a multitude of experiences, and created a shared history. Her energy and positive sense of humor helped me be aware of simple ways in which to increase joy in my life.

The moment we met, the seed of our friendship was planted. Like the bloom of the Morning Glory, the radiant warmth of mutual respect opened our hearts. Our personal connection grew into abundant admiration. The circular shape of the plate exemplifies our everlasting friendship. The extension of time has opened our awareness and understanding of each other and maintained an intangible procession of time.

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