A few weeks ago I had my thirteen year old “niece” (read my college best friend’s daughter) come and stay with me for a week. She has called me Aunt Julie for years and her mother and I are both only children, so I am the only Aunt she will ever have on the maternal side. Our mornings were taken up with the summer program I work each June and she was my assistant. So I tried to plan lots of fun things for us to do in the afternoons and evenings. One of the local art studios in Mount Pleasant, Wine and Design, offers open studio times when you can go in an pick any painting of the wall and then attempt to recreate it, rather than the usual class where everyone paints the same thing. That really appealed to my creativity and I knew my niece would find something she liked as well. I was immediately drawn to a painting of three birds, although the original color scheme was unappealing to me. I have a slight obsession with birds, I love them in toile fabric, cast in metal and carved out of wood. I get a thrill when I see the cardinals at the bird feeder in the garden or when I spy a hummingbird flitting among the flowers. However well after I completed my painting and got it home I realized it was not just that the subject matter was birds, it was the fact they were a trio that had truly spoken to me. I have an original work, not by me, of some very expressive cows standing at a fence hanging in my kitchen. I fell in love with it immediately in an art gallery booth one summer. My mother grew up on a farm with cows, they were a distant memory by the time I came on the scene, but their smell seemed to live on in my grandfather’s barn. So we have had a few inside jokes in our family surrounding cows, some with squirrels too, but that is a whole other tale. When I saw that cow painting, I saw my mama, daddy and me, my first and most important trio. Since it was just the three of us in my nuclear family, trio’s have always been an ideal configuration to me. This is also one of the reasons why I fell in love with Nancy Drew books, she was the center of a trio, she was enhanced and complemented by her pals, Bess and George. In college I had two best friends, Mary Ann and Carla, we were a trio within our sorority. When Mary Ann came and picked up her daughter at the end of the week, I showed her my painting and explained it was her, Carla and I. It is amazing to me that for almost thirty years the three of us have maintained a friendship. Every few years we get together for a girls weekend, usually at my house, after all who doesn’t love to come to Charleston? We slip easily back together as if time has not passed since the last time, although I do notice the changes the essence of our trio seems eternal. When I stop to think about it we three are completely different from each other. We share very few if any interests, hobbies or even similar lifestyles. We met when we pledged our sorority. All three of us only children, all three of us blonde, but after that even then you would be hard pressed to find any other connections. Yet we bonded, and I think enjoyed the fact we were so different from each other. One of us brash and thriving on the wild side. One of us preppy and living by Emily Post’s rules. The third, shy and reserved, suited for the country. I won’t tell you who is whom, but I bet you can look at the birds and determine by my feather color choices which bird represents which description. Come to think about it, the three older ladies that are central characters in the trilogy I am writing are much like Mary Ann, Carla and I, though not consciously. I wonder if we will become like Lydia, Dale and Miss Virginia. Time will tell, I would like to think we will be friends in our golden years. For now I am content to still be part of a trio of fine feathered friends.