Let's Talk with Maggie Toussaint
I recently wrote a tribute on friendship. Once I finished, I had a startling revelation. My relationship with a childhood best friend formed the basis for Tabby and Sage, the twins in A Magic Candle Mysteries. In the series, Tabby and Sage are fraternal twins, but they are also more than sisters who shared a womb. They are best friends.
My long-standing friendship and itchy petticoats (see photo) gave me the rich backstory I needed to craft these siblings. Finally, I had a chance to “write what I know.” I’ve included the essay below. I’ll leave it up to you to decide which one of us is Tabby and which is Sage.
The illustrations are from a nonfiction book REMEMBERING that was the first book I wrote, and they were lovingly sketched by my mother-in-law, Martha Hallman Toussaint, one afternoon (such talent!) at the kitchen table.
If you’d like to win one of the 5 ebooks of SNUFFED OUT I’m giving away, share a friendship quality you’ve experienced. I’ll announce the winners on May 10 here on this post.
Growing up in a rural fishing community taught me many values of friendship. As a six-year-old I would’ve said friends are fun and like the same things you do. Some of the things my childhood friends and I loved were crabbing, swimming, bareback riding, mud bogging, diving, roof-walking, tree climbing, building forts, Barbies, canasta, phone pranks (“Do you have Prince Albert in a can? Let him out!”), and even chores. Everything was fun when done with a friend.
However, there was the group painting whoop-de-do… My best friend and I decided to paint her little sister green one day with some paint we found under their house. Green oil-based deck paint. Lordy, we got in so much trouble. And yet the next day, we snuck out and painted all three of us green because it was so much fun. (Not so much fun for our parents though.)
So, I must add “willing to bend the rules” to my definition of friendship. My best friend literally saved my bacon in the classroom when I couldn’t read the words on the chalkboard. She’d whisper the lesson instructions to me every time. We got horrible grades in deportment, and I have secretly thanked that teacher many times for not moving her, or I would’ve flunked that grade. It was not until a school-based eye test revealed how nearsighted I was that my parents took me to the eye doctor.
Fast forward a decade or so and my best friend and I think we’re all grown up. Six months my elder, my friend received her driver’s license first. A few months later she was to drive up to Fripp Island in South Carolina where her father was visiting to pick up her little sister. She drove her mom’s white El Camino, with her at the wheel and me holding the map.
We did okay until we got past Savannah, then I had trouble reading the map (and I still do!). We discovered there was lost and Very Lost. Finally, finally, we found the right place, and we were so relieved. Thankfully, her sister read the map and we took a direct route home. Forgiveness and compassion are integral to friendship.
With maturity, challenges slammed into us at interstate speeds. We made mistakes a-plenty as boys, education, careers, and children headed our way, but we always knew if either of us needed something, the other would be there.
As often happens with young adults, our paths diverged. We moved five states apart. Back in the pre-internet or cell phone days, staying in touch meant long-distance calls or letters, and we did that. Geography and economics kept us apart for decades, but on those rare occasions we got to see each other, the years rolled away. We felt like kids again.
From this I learned friendship isn’t clingy. It endures like an ever-flowering eternal tree (hypoallergenic blossoms and pollen-free for me). Just this week my best friend and I celebrated more than six decades of friendship and hope for many more.
To summarize, my hallmarks of friendship include: good times, shared interests, willingness to bend the rules, forgiveness, compassion, helpfulness, allowing personal space for development, constancy, and abiding love. You may share any of these aspects with a friend, but when you have it all in one package, that’s truly a treasure for the ages.
Remember to leave a comment below to be eligible for the drawing! I’m giving away five digital copies of SNUFFED OUT. The winners will be announced here on Thursday, May 10.
Our monthly contest is going on right now. Winner gets both books in the book vault! ENTER NOW.
If you’d like to know more about author Maggie Toussaint aka Valona Jones, visit her WEBSITE.
Posted in Let's Talk, with Maggie Toussaint • Tags: Best Friends, Hallmarks of Friendship, Let's Talk, Maggie Toussaint, Snuffed Out, Valona Jones | 35 Comments