There are friends and there are friends

If you are very lucky in life, you get to look back at yours from a distant vantage point and see a world peopled with friends and family who made life a joy. It’s hard to explain this to anyone under sixty. Because you really need at least forty years under your belt before you can say with certainty that this or that friendship has been a mainstay of your existence. Not only that, but often these are the friends who have enough dirt on you from your youth that you don’t dare cross them. Because really, do you want anyone to know about the time you and she accidentally built the dog cage around you while you were in it?

I have been blessed with many friends. But there is one in particular visiting me this week who is currently washing the stairs on my carpet with a rented shampooer. Because of some recent health challenges, I can’t do everything I need to do to keep my house in order without significant pain. So I do what I can and figure I’ll find someone to hire to do the rest.

But then Janis shows up and suddenly I feel the joy and relief of being with someone I completely trust who has never been anything but a tried and true friend – despite that little dog cage incident. Oh, and we won’t talk about the dead bird either. I agree with her. If it didn’t have a death wish, it shouldn’t have been flying so low on the highway.

Janis and I go back to the days when her house in Barrow was in the middle of a lake and her husband had to carry their boxer Sam in his arms to high ground to pee. Our friendship goes back to the day when we realized we simply couldn’t do needlepoint in one end of a room where a group of gentlemen(?) were watching porn at the other end while one of them repeated the dialog – such as it was – line for line. We go back to the days when we so filled her third floor with cigarette smoke that her husband wouldn’t even come up the stairs. We go back to days at slot machines in Vegas where we win pretty much nothing but yell at the machines while laughing a lot and enjoying free drinks.

I don’t know how to say thank you to a friend like this. She has spent a week at my house helping me get through all kinds of chores that had simply seemed too overwhelming to do alone with my arm pain. All I can say is that I hope every person reading this has the good fortune to have at least one friend like this in their life. It just makes life seem so much more worth living.