Rounding Third ………………..

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I have talked before about the importance of having friends in your life who you can count on as you get older. There’s nothing sadder than an older person who has outlived all his friends and has no one to turn to or confide in.

Family is wonderful, and they will “probably” take good care of you, but you need friends who can understand what you’re going through and have experience with the older body.

Sometimes you just have to find new and younger friends. But, if you’re really lucky, you’ll have friendships that last most of your life. New friends bring new perspectives to your life—as do younger friends. But, somehow, you can wear an older friend like a comfortable and warm coat, and he/she has a place unlike any other in your comfort zone.

I have been very lucky in that respect, and I hope you have, too.

I wrote this poem a few years ago about some friends I value very much. I can now add many more to the list. That’s what I mean by “lucky.” With a little revision, this poem is just called,

Friends

Precious mem’ries flood the room and spill from chair to chair

As each to each and heart to heart, the love has filled the air.

Now, through this happy multitude, I search from face to face,

To fine the dearest of the dear from whom God gave me grace.

I find them basking in the glow of friends from far and near,

And though I long to greet them, my thoughts are not yet clear.

The words now tripping ‘cross my mind will never quite convey,

The gratitude and love my heart is feeling on this day.

So much these people mean to me; so dear their friendship be.

They’ve buoyed me on life’s wild ride across a thunderous sea.

They’ve held me close against their hearts when mine was wracked and torn,

And helped me turn the darkest night into a brand new morn.

Now, I was not the only one they’ve comforted and fed,

They’ve always had a shoulder for a weak and weary head.

They’ve always been a rock who stood for those who could not stand,

And were the bridge that took us ‘cross the weak and shifting sand.

So many years have passed the gate since we became as one.

We’ve raised our children, made new friends, and yet the work’s not done.

I watch them smile so graciously as each kind word is said,

And, silently, I know the path that I must take, instead .

The power of these feelings that have risen up in me

Must find their way to paper for all the world to see.

So, let me say to all of you before this moment ends,

“I feel so very fortunate that life has made us friends. — JDF

• Joke: (just a joke) From Genesis: “And God promised men that good and obedient wives would be found in all corners of the Earth.” Then He made the world round and laughed and laughed.

• Favorite One-Liners: *If the NSA is truly listening to us—it’s the only government agency that is. *The government says, “Hold onto people by their wallets and their minds will follow.” *We all think we’re mature until someone breaks out the bubble wrap.” *Don’t ever say, “How stupid can you be?” because some people take it as a challenge. *Why are we trying to fix the Middle East when we can’t even fix Detroit? *It’s not society’s fault every time a law gets broken. Sometimes, it’s just the lawbreaker’s fault.

• Historical Bits and Pieces: *Have you ever heard someone call a small place a “jerkwater” town? It comes from a time when towns were much farther apart than now. Trains would have to stop at a pond or creek along the way and the crew “jerked” water up in buckets to replenish the boilers. Small settlements often grew where the trains had to stop, and these places were referred to as “Jerkwater” towns.

* Contrary to popular belief, Daniel Boone did not fight or die at the Battle of the Alamo. He was dead for 16 years before that battle took place.

Well, that’s all I have for now. Embrace your old—and new—friends and let them know how valuable they are to you. See Ya! — JDF

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