I have often said that the reason I enjoy being a “columnist,” rather than a “journalist” is that the former can use random numbers like a “jzillion dollars” without remorse, while the latter has to report with accuracy on dull-as-dishwater things like the Gross National Product and how much it costs to fill the pothole in front of your house. (Curiously, about a “jzillion dollars.”)
Nonetheless, journalists always have to fact-check everything and frankly, that sounds tiresome and an awful lot like work.
That said, even in light of my disdain for the purely factual, it has recently come to my attention that I have been guilty of taking credit where credit most definitely is NOT due. Mainly in reference to sustaining my own life.
When I wrote recently about Mr. Wonderful’s travels and how he left me here to DIE with a wood burner that would not burn any wood, I was remiss on one key point: I completely forgot to mention that I would not be here today to pen this column in frostbite-free bliss if not for the support and generosity of people who made the mistake of becoming friends with the likes of me.
I think most people assume you can count on family if the going gets rough. It’s their tough luck for being related to you, after all.
Thus, regardless of how grateful we are for the love and support of people bound to us by blood or marriage, I think it warms the heart MORE somehow when friends — people who don’t have to spend time with us at ALL — go out of the way to keep us from doing grave harm to ourselves.
You may recall that from the moment Mr. Wonderful left for an extended business trip, I struggled mightily with the wood-burner that is the sole heat source for our home.
As temperatures dropped (both indoors and out) and a blizzard picked up steam, it was me against the wood that would not burn.
No flame. No heat. No hope.
I’ve never felt so Little House on the Prairie. All we needed was a runaway buckboard and the plague.
Enter my go-to guy.
Everybody has that one friend. That friend you can call at any hour of the day or night and who will, without complaint, come and bail you out of a jam (or, depending on how irresponsible you are — jail).
Fortunately, our go-to-guy gets called on for an awful lot of the former and none of the latter. (Knock on wood and no pun intended). While it seems as if we have known our go-to-friends (they are a husband and wife team) forever, in truth it has been five years.
Our boys became buddies in kindergarten and we parents soon followed suit. Who could have dreamt that a grammar-school friendship begun with a telephone number painstakingly printed in a little boy’s block handwriting and a plea for a first-ever sleepover would lead to such a long-standing alliance?
Together, we have installed swimming pools, led scout troops, shared potluck and rung in a few new years.
We swap children and stories and my family holds the ignoble title of being present each and every time their younger son breaks his collarbone. They have become the friends we think of first for both having a ball and bailing us out of a jam.
The true-blue types who will “do anything for you” and I hope we are the same for them.
Nonetheless, despite this proven track record, I was too proud to call for help when the wood burner went kaput. Mr. Wonderful, fortunately, was not. One quick call from Mr. Wonderful holed up in a frozen-over airport, and one very good friend roared up my driveway like the cavalry to save my sorry self.
He would then spend the weekend bouncing between his home and ours in a valiant effort to keep the home fires burning — literally. He saved my weekend, my pipes and my sanity. You really can’t put a price tag on that.
I think everyone has a friend or friends like that — and if you don’t, you really should. Everyone should have — and be — a go-to guy (or gal). I highly recommend them.
Good friends are the people who make our lives richer, smoother, kinder, better and a lot more fun. With them you break bread, ground and sometimes — bones. Then you can get together later to laugh about it all.
True friends you can rely on are a blessing, indeed. They really can be counted on to warm your heart — and your home.
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