The best kind of friend

The back porch of the Nocking Point, my parents' lakefront cabin, in May 2003

The back porch of the Nocking Point, my parents’ lakefront cabin, in May 2003

“The best kind of friend is the one you could sit on a porch with, never saying a word, and walk away feeling like that was the best conversation you’ve had.” — Author Unknown

As much as I enjoy talking (OK, no wisecracks here) I have to admit that an amiable silence is also one of the benefits of close friendship and love.  With the people we feel closest to, we never need to force conversation.  Often we know, or can make a good guess, what the other person is thinking.  Sometimes we even say the same thing at the same time.  But when we are comfortable with someone, just being with them is enough.

During late childhood and early adolescence, my friend Beth and I used to read different books silently together for hours, especially in summertime.  We’d go to the library and check out our maximum number of books, then just sit, read, and swap books when we finished.  When Beth’s friend Joyce would visit from Ohio in the summer, she would join us for the book reading and swapping.   Although we often discussed books with enthusiasm, that wasn’t always necessary.  The shared enjoyment of being lost in a book was enough.

During the hottest days of the year, I hope you will find time to be a bit lazy and enjoy sitting on a porch some cool evening with someone you like or love.  Iced tea, books, magazines or conversation are optional extras.  May your summer included at least a few of these memorable moments of silent conversation.

This post was originally published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. A good book and a friend to share it with on a summer afternoon sounds ideal and one that I would have loved to have experienced Julia. Seems I was the only guy who was reading during those summer days long ago. To have shared with any of my friends what it was or what it meant…well, that would have brought about strange looks and howls or laughter.
    I envy your moments of shared literature yet, it still brought to mind my own personal, self realized joy…back in those summer days of the 60’s. 🙂
    Have a lovely summer Julia!

    • Steve, when I first read your comment, I was amused to think of you as a “closet” reader in your youth. You always struck me as the type who would have been immersed in athletics, outdoor pursuits, chasing girls (or being chased by them) 😀 and generally all the things that seem farthest from the nerdy bookworm. But then again, I remembered the funny video you produced for the college library, which you sent to me in the very difficult months immediately following Jeff’s death. In any case, I’m very happy that you enjoyed reading, even if it was a solitary pursuit for you in those early years. I’m sure you will agree with me, reading is a hobby that ages well, growing ever more enchanting over the years. Hope you are having a great summer too! If Tennessee is as hot as Virginia right now, it might be a great time for books and iced tea…

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