Lifetime friendship is medicine for the soul

Story highlights

  • Experts say close friendships are good for maintaining routines and physical health
  • A group of Mississippi women who call themselves M.E.N.S.A. have stayed close for decades
  • They see one another through life's trials and tribulations and serve as a sounding board
  • Margaret Collins Jenkins, one of the pals, says staying close isn't easy but it's worthwhile
A small group of salt-and-pepper haired women who live outside Jackson, Mississippi, meet every other Tuesday at the local antique store for their M.E.N.S.A. gathering. The Most Exclusive National Shopping Association has met consistently for the past three years, but some of its members have been close for more than 50.
Margaret Collins Jenkins, 58, is president. Nita Gilmore is treasurer. Ouida Muffuletto is secretary. It's her job to read the minutes of the meeting and take notes. The women came up with the M.E.N.S.A. acronym years ago by throwing around words until something fit. After shopping, when the meeting ends, the 10-15 member group goes to dinner.
Though Jenkins says the group laughs and carries on, this is more than just a club. These women work to preserve the friendships they've cult