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Revised 23 December, 2010

BEST FRIENDS FOREVER

When I was very young, there hung a cheap painting in my grandparent's dining room which depicted four cows, their heads in the milking yokes, ready for milking. Being curious, I asked my grandparents why they chose this particular scene to hang on their walls. I am told that these four cows represented mother and her three best friends, Bonnie, Clara and Lucille.

Now I know I met all of them at one time or another, but I don't remember much about them except for Bonnie, who was mother's best friend in the whole world and who remained her friend into old age. Bonnie was not the brightest candle in the candelabra and was frequently the brunt of jokes. As they would be walking home from school with their piles of books, mother would stop to tie her shoe and ask Bonnie to hold her books for her and simply neglect to ask to take them back. They would get all the way home and mother would thank Bonnie for carrying her books and stroll blythly into the house leaving Bonnie standing at the gate finally realizing she had been duped again.

My grandparents made an annual soujourn to Central City, Nebraska to clean up the family plot and put out flowers for remembrance. On one occasion, Bonnie went along. Since they were there for quite some time, she got thirsty and got a drink from one of the faucets that are placed around the cemetery for watering the lawn. When they got back to Omaha, the girls went upstairs for a bit and grandma made a hasty phone call to Bonnie's mother...yet another jokester in the bunch. When Bonnie got home, her mother was sitting on the sofa reading the newspaper. Mother suddenly gasps and reads an "article" to Bonnie about some woman who drank water from one of the cisterns over at the Central City cemetery and died because the water had become tained by running over the bones of the dead bodies. Bonnie turned a ghastly white and squeaked out to her mother that she needed to go to the doctor because she drank some of that water and all of a sudden, didn't feel too good. Mothers can be truly downright dirty in getting even with their kids. It took them almost an hour to finally convince her it was all a hoax.

On one other occasion, Bonnie went on vacation with the family to Colorado to stay in a mountain cabin. They drove an old Ford touring car, packed a huge box lunch and stopped only for gas. The girls slept in the back seat of the car. Every time they passed a haystack Grandpa would yell out, "Oh look, there's the mountains." and up both girls would pop all excited only to discover he was pulling their leg. Apparently he pulled this so many times and they bit each and every time, that when they finally did get to the mountains, they wouldn't believe that the mountains were real.

Each of us has a Bonnie or a Joe or for me, a Grace, a Robert or a Tom, who becomes our best friends for life, with whom we share memories, laughter, our sorrows and our joys. I was fortunate to have three such friends. Each has seen us at our best and at our worst and accepted us, warts and all, without judgment or criticism, knowing that they, too, would be accepted accordingly. There is not one of these friends that I would willingly give up, ever, and without having met them, my life would never have been the same.

This, then, is my Christmas story for 2010. Take time to call a friend, or visit a loved one, write a long awaited letter to someone who has been important in your lifetime and let them know how much you have appreciated their patience, their kindness and their love.

 

Merry Christmas, everybody.

Katie