Fri 11 Jul, 2003 03:25 pm
What kind of friendships do you have?
What's your version of a friend (degrees) or how do you rate a friend?
How many friends do you really have?
Do they know your inner most thoughts and feelings or do you share them?
husker, One of my longest and dearest friend passed away last September. I've know him for 44 years. We met in Chicago, and we both ended up in Silicon Valley where our families grew up together. We shared all the family-type holidays together, and attended all the important events in each other's family like weddings and funerals. He was with me when our first son was born. I had to tell the hospital staff that he was my brother, so he could take a peek at the new babies. I have one other friend I met after I left my home town that have lasted the longest. We met while we were both stationed in Morocco in the late fifties, and we've exchanged Christmas cards ever since. I guess my oldest friend is the actor Sab Shimono. We grew up in Sacramento together, and for some reason, we've been able to keep in touch. We have seen a few plays in the San Francisco Bay Area that he acted in in Berkeley and San Jose. He was in San Jose last year in a play, so my wife and I invited him out for lunch. He's been in many t.v. shows like Mash. The first big movie he was in was Midway. c.i.
Not in your order:
I have2 friends and several people that I am very close to. I don't rate friends. They are either friends or something else. The 2 close friends are men I love. I have been in some terrable situations and they were there. There was no request, they just came. We have laughed and cried together. We have stood against the wind in defense of one another. One was accused of a terrable crime (indecent exposure in front of a child) by his wife's ex and he was arrested. Without a thought I opened my home to him and he stayed with me for 6 months or so. He kept asking our other friend and me if we thought he was guilty and we refused to answer. That was not the issue. He was our friend and he needed us. He was dismissed from the training academy we both worked at. After an enormous battle the charges were thrown out as groundless and a police officer was fired for purgery. He sued the state to regain his job. He asked others to testify in his behalf and all bagged off except me. A director present in the hearing (and one of the people cited in the grievance) was also the person who was to conduct the interviews for a position I had applied for. The interviews were later that week. I had to testify as to comments I had heard him make concerning the case. The only issue at that moment was that he was my friend and he needed my word. When the others first child died I called our other friend and asked him if he was driving or would he rather I did. Are you was never spoken. In the hotel we all held each other and quietly sobbed. When I was in a coma they were at my bedside almost a week and Linda had to almost demand that they return to their families, telling them that she would keep them informed of my condition. There is no issue that is sacred among us. There is no limit to any emotion we may show one another and no limit to the anger we allow ourselves to display. We have never parten in anger. I would give my life for one of them and in my heart I know that they would do the same. There are no limits to the thoughts or emotions we would share.
So, how do I rate them? What is my version of a friend? I don't know. I only have 2 and in writing this I am filled with true and deep emotion. It's as close as I can come in replying to your question.
Here is a piece I wrote with them in mind:
I have an old, brown tweed, coat with leather patches on the elbows that hangs in the back of the closet. My wife will ask me on occasion if I shouldn't throw it away. I always respond with a somewhat shocked, yet assertive, "no". It still fits and when I put it on it warms me. It some how contours itself to the age driven, changing contours of my body. It knows me and sort of accepts these bodily changes. Sometimes I travel back to the first time I wore it and how pleased I was to have it wrapped about me and how comfortable it felt. I had that quixotic feeling that it was something special. For a while that coat became a part of who it was. My wife never wore the jacket so finds it difficult to tolerate the outdated style and time worn, frayed edges. She never experienced the times when it was perfect for the climate and necessary to stave off the fall winds. She never lived through the times when that coat was all I had. She often sites the poorly stitched left-hand pocket and other imperfections such as cigarette burns and stretched lapels. It is impossible to explain to her that those imperfections are what I value most and what gives it its value. If it were perfect, it would have little value to me. It would be like every other garment in the closet. Clean, well pressed and available in any clothier shop. I have memories and mementos in the pockets that take me back in time and bring forth feelings of both joy and sorrow. It wasn't always an easy coat to wear and others thought it ill advised for the time. But, they always knew it was my coat and, to some extent respected that. Those that didn't were often cold themselves and had no coat to wear or, a new coat that never gave them real warmth.
So, it hangs there now amidst the changing climate and trends giving me real warmth when I feel the need but not demanding that I make it my sole attire.
Such is true of time worn friends.