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Sister Act

Updated: Jan 25, 2023

Sunday morning found me in a coffeeshop (no surprise), splitting time between reading, writing in my journal and taking in the sights, sounds and human interaction around me.

The place was busy, with a line of folks ordering at the counter, people coming in to pick up carryout orders, and folks catching up on work or trying to get ahead before Monday’s certain onslaught of meetings and emails hit.

Looking up from my book (or maybe in the transition from reading to journaling), I noticed a woman sitting at a table in the corner. She looked peaceful as she sipped her tea; content with her choice and her surroundings. She wore a pleasant look, but something in her posture made me think she was waiting for something or someone.

And I was correct.

A few minutes later, another woman of similar age (and slightly resembling the first) came through the door. Immediately, the first woman popped out of her seat, smiling and waving for her friend (sister?) to come and sit down.

As the second woman got to the table, they embraced with a sense of comfortable, informal authenticity that told me they were happy and grateful to be in the same place at the same time, renewing a longstanding – and likely long overdue -- bond. (“Finally!” I heard one of them say.)

I thought little of it, this one-act play simultaneously being written (in my head) and acted out (by these women) in real-time, and soon, I had returned to my reading and journaling as they chatted and caught up on “things,” their excitement to see one another obvious and refreshing, especially as I looked around to see many others distracted by their phones, chasing small children or grinding out work on laptops.

Moments later, as I jotted something in my journal (it was brilliant, I’m sure) I heard a loud “Over here!” and I looked up to see what was going on. This time, it was Friend/Sister #2, gesturing to two more friends/sisters who had just entered the place.

Again, I stopped what I was doing to observe as the group – now four – exchanged hugs before sitting down with their drinks and scones, hardly stopping to breathe as they talked and laughed.

Physical distance allowed me to casually observe without being conspicuous, and as much as I tried to focus on my own activities, I couldn’t stop watching this group. Their energy, spirit and the pure joy that emanated from their table was contagious, and while not in need of a mood boost at the time, I felt elevated by their presence.

The thing is, I’ve witnessed this scene, this beautiful encounter, this wonderful one-act play of friends and sisters, play out hundreds – maybe thousands – of times over the past three-plus decades.

Because while Sunday’s group of women – all in their mid- to late-seventies by my estimate, who may or may not be related – reminded me of a younger yet no less connected Fab Four I know: Joanie and her three sisters.

Now, unless you’re part of Joanie’s family, you probably haven’t experienced the magic of these four beautiful souls and that moment when Rosie, Maggie, Joanie and Mo reunite after weeks or month apart.

These four sisters -- whose genetic connection is unmistakable when you see them together, and whose friendship and mutual love are equally obvious – have more than a connection; they’re a true sisterhood, linked by a common love, energy, spirit and pure joy they share with, and derive from, one another when they’re together.

To put it clinically, it’s impressive, but in human terms, it’s a thing of true beauty in every sense of the word and something that radiates far beyond their own circle to those around them, old and young, whether connected by blood, marriage or simple friendship.

And that’s why I so enjoyed the one-act play happening before me on Sunday morning. For the next 45 minutes, I tried to continue with my own activities, but it was difficult to concentrate because every few minutes, I’d hear laughter and conversation bubble up from several tables away, where the sisters sat, and I’d quietly smile and laugh along with them, even though I had no idea what they were talking about.

And that’s just the way it is with Joanie and her sisters.

Now, some might envy those with such strong connections and relationships, especially people who’ve had their own families or friendships strained by circumstance, physical distance, or simply by life. But that’s exactly why (in my opinion, anyway) people need to be lifted by those things they observe in everyday life: scenes of energy, joy and love, like the scenario that played out at a small table, in a local coffeeshop between four beautiful souls on a cold Sunday morning.

I was happy for these four, who’s energy and laughter had, admittedly, caused one “hard-charging, Type-A, get-ahead-of-the-week” customer to move to another part of the coffeeshop (his loss).

The sisters sincerely apologized to him (his demeanor immediately softened with their collective kindness), and they’d try to talk quieter, spending the next few moments leaning in as though sharing secrets. But soon, their energy and excitement would boil over and the laughter would resume.

And as I thought about this group, I felt a powerful sense of gratitude for that ongoing series of hundreds or thousands of one-act plays (and counting) I’ve seen starring Joanie and her sisters, performances I NEVER tire of, ones that entertain, energize and bring pure joy to all those they touch.

As I wrapped up my reading and journaling, I decided it was time to head for home to get on with the rest of my Sunday. But it wasn’t easy. I wanted to stay and see how this play ended, this performance of love, laughter and sisterhood.

Thing is, thanks to experience, I already know (spoiler alert). It never ends. It just closes the curtain until the group meets again for its next act.

And each performance is better than the last.

© 2023 David R. Haznaw

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