An Urban Meets Rural Story: Unlikely Friends Become Besties

College Buddies, Lifetime Friends Sara Bedgar and Tara Beziat

Sarah Bedgar grew up in a rural Maryland town with one stop sign. Tara Beziat was raised in Cleveland, Ohio. Their friendship thrives through mutual respect because they are different.

Sarah and Tara: Differences can create division in families and friendships. Tell us about your friendship and how you two remain close despite your differences. 

Tara: We’ve talked about wanting to do a podcast together because of that. The idea is that I’m the professor. I understand research and education. And Sarah’s the farmer – the boots on the ground. And we find a way to talk about things with respect even though we’re different in so many ways. Sarah’s religious, but I’m not. She likes to be out on the farm all the time while I don’t even want a yard. We can have difficult conversations that people don’t typically get to have because we find our way to talk about things with respect. I respect her. I can be myself, and Sarah’s going to come back to me. And the same goes the other way around. 

Sarah: One thing we do have in common is that we’re both lifelong learners. Out of that shared characteristic we really have developed a deep respect for each other and a safe space for learning together. We can ask each other questions and know that we won’t feel judged. For example, Tara is an avid reader and has asked me thoughtful questions after reading books like Fast Food and Super Size Me. We each take the time to dig into a question and see it through together, even including discussions about political candidates. I respect her perspective because she is so bright, and such a hard worker. 

Tara: I’ve asked Sarah about all kinds of things. What are GMOs? What is rBST (that was her masters thesis)? I go to her with those questions knowing she’ll give me her research background and animal background and not filter it. 

How did you two meet?

Tara: We met at the University of Maryland. We were both RAs in the same building and ended up being friends. She would always take me over to the 4-H grounds on campus. I had no idea that 4-H existed before I met her. Our backgrounds are extremely different in every way. She grew up on a dairy farm in Maryland, and I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. Her major was animal science, and mine was secondary education.

Sarah: To me, Tara seemed larger than life in those days. She is 6’ tall in bare feet, and she was always playing club volleyball with a bandana on her head. I’m always up for an adventure and hanging out with Tara is always an adventure. She loves urban culture. I remember her taking me to see The Nutcracker with her in D.C. We got dressed up and went out for brunch first, and that’s where I had my very first mimosa. Yum! 

Tell us a fun memory from your college days together.

Sarah: For spring break one year, my boss let me borrow his cabin at Deep Creek Lake. Tara and I headed out there together. We took a stack of Cosmopolitan magazines and some nail polish and hit the road. One night while we were relaxing, we heard this terrible crash outside. We thought that there was a serial killer outside and that we were going to die!

Tara: We freaked out. But Sarah finally figured out that it was just a big pile of snow that fell off of the roof outside. I remember that trip because we both wanted to go to the movie theater, but we wanted to see different movies. So we each went alone to our own movie, and then we came back and read those Cosmos together. 

Sarah drove on that trip. She had this Saturn that she had bought and paid for herself. On our way back to school, we were blasting the Dixie Chicks right in front of the Naval Academy Golf Course. I got reprimanded for it by my boyfriend. I love that memory – singing those songs together, the car. 

How do you two continue to stay in touch with each other despite the distance and your busy lives as moms?

Sarah: Tara has been such a blessing, the friend who shows up for me at the darkest moments. The best next chapter is when she and her family get to come see us on our new “tiny farm.” Her little boy likes tractors and all kinds of farm things. My girls want to grow an herb garden. And my son is our bee guy. He got his first hives last year and is adding more this year.

Tara: We’ve stayed friends for more than 20 years. Sarah is one of those people that you can call or text whenever, and she’s there, even though I’m in Alabama and she’s in North Dakota. She’s a part of us.