Lewiston, Maine — The editors of the world-famous Farmers’ Almanac have declared 2011 “The Year of Friendship.”
In honor of that announcement, the 194-year-old publication is asking readers to send in their own stories of life-changing friendships as part of its “Friends for Life” campaign. Farmers’ Almanac staff will select the best stories to highlight on its website, www.Farmersalmanac.com and also give away free Friends for Life Bracelets for al the friendships chosen to be published on the site.
“Our initiative is critically important for these times when people count friendships on Facebook,” states Peter Geiger, Editor and Philom., “the true test of friendships is measured in time and quality. Families are important, but sometimes it’s those special friends that make all the difference and give us joy and true happiness.”
To kick things off, the 2011 edition of the Farmers’ Almanac, which hit stores earlier this fall, included a story of one group of 10 women whose friendship has spanned six decades.
The women, who all grew up in western New Jersey during the 1940s and 50s, became close as young girls. Many were members of the local Girl Scout troop, and have remained close through high school, college, marriages, the loss of spouses and parents, cancer diagnoses, and even the loss, last year, of one of their own.
“We’re sisters at heart. Any of us would be there for any of the others of us at any time. We’ve all been there for each other during some really serious terrible times,” said Martha McGrath Carroll, one of the women featured in the story.
Each year, “the gang,” as they call themselves, comes together for a reunion. They laugh and cry together, relive old times, and try new things. Past reunions have included whitewater rafting, horseback riding, gambling in Atlantic City, a visit to a Seminole reservation, midnight bowling, a ride on the Maid of the Mist, antiquing, summer stock theater, campfires, motivational speakers, crafts, and visits to galleries, museums, and more.
“Some of us will stay up so late laughing that we’re exhausted the next morning. When we get together, we tell the same stories, year after year after year,” said Mary Beth Kale Morris, another member of the circle.
The story has prompted others to share their own stories, including Linda Corson, whose girlfriends helped her through the untimely loss of her husband, and Pam McGuffey, whose high school friends gathered for a slumber party after their recent 40th class reunion.
“We are looking for inspiring friendship stories no mater how many years you’ve been friends” states Geiger, “sometimes its not the years that count but the ability to rely on one or many close friends that make all the difference in the world.”