COLUMN: Rounding Third ………………..

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I have talked a bit about friends — and the need for them — especially as we grow older.

An old friend of mine, Dan Kelley, called me the other day. You know Dan! He was one of the oil barons in town before he retired. He wanted to tell me that he knew why they made my picture smaller with the column.

He’d heard that Dear Abby was mad because my pic was bigger than hers. Funny Dan!

My friends do tend to have a sense of humor—because they need to.

Another friend—another Dan (Duncan)—the mobile-wash mogul) has a favorite saying. If we’re sitting around with a drink and some good food, busting chops and laughing, he’ll chirp, “What do you think the poor people are doing?”

It’s not meant to be trite or snide. It merely indicates how lucky we feel to be blessed with such good lives. Granted — we’ve all worked hard to get here. And we are blessed to have such friends to share these times with.

Then, sometimes I think of the people who are — by chance or choice — not so lucky. Those who are there by chance, get my sympathy. I wish you a better future. But then—there are those who choose not to have many friends — for whatever reason.

Why? That’s always shocked me. But, of course, I dealt with that topic in a poem a while back. It’s about a woman, but it could just as easily be about some men I know. It’s called:

The Ice Princess

She walked the Earth with infinite grace, a measured smile upon her face,

And all we knew and all we’d see is what she’d cast upon our sea.

A simple dream once filled her heart, but someone tore it all apart,

So, now she’d walk each day alone with shattered dream and heart of stone.

Each head would turn as she went by. ‘Twas beauty none could ere deny,

But, hidden ‘neath that perfect form was cold no man would ever warm.

They’d come to her with plaintive cry; she’d smile and let them walk on by.

The ice within that perfect breast did turn away the sternest test.

And she, when all had turned away, continued on her lonely way.

She kept a solitary life-not mother, friend or cherished wife.

Till one day in that heart of stone, she saw she truly was alone.

She’d turned away all human touch; the warmth and love that means so much.

She’d built a world of sculptured ice and never tried to roll the dice.

Now, when the truth began to dawn—the princess melted and was gone. JDF

Certainly not in that category of friendless would be a good friend of mine who recently passed, Fred Dennison. Fred, with wife, Kay, ran Mills Electric Supply for years. Sadly, Kay passed just a few months before Fred.

If there was a more gregarious, friendly and generous man than Fred, I’d love to meet him. He was a hero of mine as a kid, and I knew he’d worked his way up from little to be very successful.

The true American success story: A good athlete, a caring soul and with a great sense of humor. If you knew him, you loved him. Son, Wayne, is a lawyer in the Boston area and son, James, is Dr. James Dennison, who replaced these old hips of mine and is a much respected surgeon.

Great couple and we will dearly miss these friends.

Favorite One-Liners: *Friendship is like a book. It takes years to write but only seconds to burn. *Don’t ever assume malice for what stupidity can explain *Who’s building the Ark? I’m ready to buy a ticket. * I only hang around cheerful friends. Grouches bring me down. *You shouldn’t call something music unless it has more than four different notes.

Historical Notes: Did you know that this is the Cenozoic geological era and it started 65 million years ago. *The ACLU began as the American Union Against Militarism *Back in the early 20th century, Canada passed a law banning poor people from entering the country. (Don’t send us your huddled masses.) *In the Middle Ages, when many people could neither read nor write, documents were often signed with an X. Kissing the X became an oath to fulfill obligations specified in the document. The X and the kiss soon became synonymous..Bye friends XXX! — JDF

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