During my college years the movie Stripes played frequently on HBO. My memory goes to the scene of Bill Murray teasing the cute MP sitting on the stove with a spatula and asking her “Whose your buddy?:” Good friends are rare and more valuable than piles of precious metals or jewels. Social media has diluted the meaning of friend to likes and a voyeuristic invasion of privacy from a safe distance. I’m talking about the friends you know with absolute certainty will take a bullet for you. Those saints can typically be counted on one hand.
I have the wonderful fortune of having the love of my life and my best friend all bottled up in one person. Carey and I spend exponentially more time together than the average couple. She knows me better than anyone on earth, the real me, not some distortion that fits in someone’s comfort zone. Carey hurts when I hurt. She viciously protects my honor and character. My wife and best friend wants the best for me even if she must sacrifice. All of these characteristics are mutual.
The move to Senoia brought me geographically closer to my long time friend Ron Clower. I met Ron 35 years ago at The House of 10,000 Picture Frames. He taught me how to mat and frame anything customers brought to the frame shop. We became fast friends despite a four year age difference. There were many memories before his career took him out of state. Until the ventilator my life was consumed by getting to the next day, I wasn’t a very good friend to anyone. In the meantime Ron made several financially fruitful business decisions that enabled him to retire. Now days we spend more time together than our responsibility free youth. Though I wouldn’t kiss him, the friendship I have with Ron mirrors the friendliness I share with my wife.
As I crossed the bridge from an able to a disabled life not many close friends made the trip. That birthed a deep appreciation for the friends that made the crossing and the new friends that make the effort now. I do wish I could reciprocate much more, but my close friends know that. I test the ancient truth to have a friend you must be a friend and that haunts me.
Good friends are the spice to life that make it worth sharing. You know who your true friends are when trouble comes knocking. Many fair weather friends scatter like roaches when the kitchen light is turn on in the middle of the night. Then sometimes you are surprised and your faith in human beings reinvigorated. I met Dean Benamy through my college housemate Will Katz in 1982. I got to know Dean better when Will and I moved to a house on Milledge Avenue across the street from Dean and several other ATO brothers of Will and Dean’s. Will and I kept in touch since graduation, but I lost touch with the rest of the guys with the exception of Brad Jackson trading cars and our shared passion of trout fishing. ALS and a wife at the time when I was at my worst physically discouraged any contact from my friends put an end to the friendships as I knew them. The invention of facebook brought back many old friends in my life. When I began blogging a few years ago Dean and I began corresponding. He shared some very kind words about my writing and my character publicly and privately. When The Hitching Post collapsed Dean made sure we would be OK financially as did Tim Ford and Richard Stamper, but Dean wouldn’t stop there. A not for profit corporation is the only thing that will give longevity to donations. Dean has been in the background quietly making this happen. Thank you Dean, your heart is enormous.
The Mayo Clinic call yesterday was uplifting, briefly, then reality rained down. Whatever Carey has is going to be devastating. Through a family connection Carey was on the phone last night with the neurologist that is the head of Cleveland Clinic’s neurology department suspects Carey has what I have been telling doctors for almost three years , but immediately dismiss me. God damn them to hell! We need miracles on several fronts.
Thanks for reading. Have a great day! dj