I guess I’ll first clarify the Denise I am referring to. Denise is a popular name in my family. My middle name is Denise. My sister is Denise. I guess we were named after my dad because it’s feminine for Dennis. And as if there weren’t enough Denises in our life, my brother went out and married a Denise. But this post is about one of my dearest friends who is also named…Denise.
I met Denise and her husband, Robin, in 1990. Robin and my now ex were good friends during their college years in Chicago. I hit it off with them right away and we became great friends.
When my kids were young, we’d often drive the four hours to visit them for a nice get-away-weekend. We’d get there late on a Friday night since my husband worked during the day. We’d load up the van with kids…and ourselves, with coffee. When we arrived late in the night, Denise would still have a spread of food laid out for us. Bagel chips and spinach dip were my favorite. Denise may not be 100% Italian, but you’d never know it. She looks Italian. She sounds Italian. She laughs Italian. She has that adorable sassy Italian attitude. (Don’t cross her. 😳) And she expresses her love for you through food like a true Italian woman. We’d always leave on Sundays a few pounds heavier. You know she really loved us. I know I sure love my Italian friend.
Denise would make our time special whenever we visited. She’d have things planned out for us. Places to eat or movies to watch. She would have “popcorn picnics” for the kids which meant popcorn and a movie. The kids loved that time with her.
I enjoyed our conversations. When the kids would be busy playing or in bed for the night, we’d chat until one or both of us would start to fall asleep.
Denise and Robin would come here for an annual fall festival. We’d walk all day long and buy fun stuff or early Christmas presents. We’d eat lunch at the outdoor food court. Since this festival is always in October, the aroma of the variety of food grilling is always out of this world. There’s just something about autumn bonfires, smoke, and grilling. We’d eat and then walk some more. I’d have to be careful not to point something out and say I like that, because somehow it would end up in our car. It was so much fun though. I miss those days.
We helped each other through hard times and celebrated together, the good ones. She was always there. And still is.
After my divorce, she and her husband felt they had no choice but to choose a side. They chose me.
A couple of years ago, they knew I was really struggling. So they surprised me by driving all the way down here for lunch. A four hour drive. FOR LUNCH. We went to a Mexican restaurant. It was a great visit. Little did I know they also had groceries for me and the kids. Lots of groceries. And then they drove the four hours back home. That’s what you call true friends.
Denise has been in my life for 32 years now. Half my life. I can’t imagine life without her.
They say if you have 2-3 lifetime friends you are lucky. Well, I am more than lucky. I am blessed. ♥️