We lend each other books Interleaved with old letters, a Christmas card, a yellowed book review. Our desks are awash in papers. We recite poetry to each other, even halting lines of half-remembered French or German. Sometimes I sing on request. We exchange funny stories, female talk, college recollections, anecdotes of famous people we have met. We share our wonder at the miracle of love the marriage of true hearts and minds. We defend the dignity of language, the beauty of speech, the thrill of the theater. If sometimes my friend fills me in on the opening of the Dakota territory or the times she set Mrs. LaFollette's table, I am reminded that her memory is longer and keener than mine, I am made aware that she has seen One hundred Independence Days. I respect her for that but I lo ve her for her present Independence.