Beyond the Byline: Friends aren’t just around the block anymore

By Melanie Mizenko - [email protected] | March 15th, 2016 1:45 pm

Those who have been a Girl Scout, as I have, know this song and now it will (probably) be stuck in your head.

The song goes:

“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold. A circle is round, it has no end. That’s how long I will be your friend.”

I’ve had friends come and go. I have friends from high school, friends from college and friends from activities throughout my life.

But when I say I have friends throughout the country, I truly mean it — not just a girl from high school who I know and can ask “can I crash your couch?” via Facebook or another who lives in Florida who one day, as I keep telling her, “I’m going to text you and ask hey, let’s get coffee, I’m coming through your city.”

These ladies know more about me than most; we’ve sent cards, traveled miles to get together, talked for hours on the phone. Every year, we — or as many of us as possible — have a get together, aptly called “SueStock” on Sue Kron’s — see the connection? — lawn in Chadds Ford (near Philadelphia).

We even have shirts and a name: Thundersisters!

Let me explain: our love for the Irish singing group, Celtic Thunder, brought us together though an online chat room eight years ago. Those on the East Coast (and some West Coast stragglers) came together on Sue’s lawn that summer. The rest is Thundersister history. There have been good times and late nights. I’m not even a touch Irish, but heritage doesn’t matter to these ladies. Somehow we’ve morphed into a virtual sisterhood and our love for one another keeps us together.

I have several “honorary nephews” (lookin’ at you, Noah and CJ) because of this group — and I’m proud to watch them grow up.

I’m the youngest in our group of 25 or so where we use Facebook to talk, vent and support each other. Age is just a number with these ladies.

If a problem arises, we work together to sort it out. We mourn each other’s losses and celebrate little victories.

When I graduated high school, Janette Langill came from the Boston area to spend the weekend. Meaghan Hickenbottom drove up from Philadelphia.

When my dad died last year, three from the Philadelphia area, Meaghan, Sue and Kathy Janson, showed up to support our family. I didn’t ask them to come, but I shed a tear when I saw them. I couldn’t ask for better friends.

There are times when I’m incredibly down and need a pick-me-up and whose there with a text or phone call? One of the sisters.

Some of us send birthday and Christmas cards. Some of us meet for extracurricular activities as well, like going to events not associated with Celtic Thunder. Some of us haven’t met yet and that’s okay because we feel like we’ve known each other for years.

We’re not a normal bunch of friends, but we’ve connected through technology. Gone are the days of being home by dark or playing with friends in a backyard. Isn’t technology amazing? We’re all but a power button away from each other.

As it’s St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, I say to my friends (and you): Slainte!

Hilary Brugger and Colleen Lyons, both of New Jersey, and Melanie Mizenko, enjoy SueStock’s inaugural event. Brugger and Colleen Lyons, both of New Jersey, and Melanie Mizenko, enjoy SueStock’s inaugural event. Submitted Photo

By Melanie Mizenko

[email protected]

Reach Melanie Mizenko at 570-991-6116 or on Twitter @TL_MMizenko