“True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it be lost.”
– Charles Caleb Colton
I often think of the friends I’ve made throughout the years. Those in high school, some of whom I see either annually or every five years. Those in college, most of those I’ve never seen since graduation. Those in the workplace, through my association in the American Taekwondo Association, through my writers’ group meetings. I could never name all of them but I’d like to highlight a few:
Clark, Jennifer, Paul, Marvin, and the girl who lived next door: 1987. Keystone, SD. I spent a summer working at a burger/chicken place attached to the Ruby House Cafe. Clark was my cook mate. Jenny was his girlfriend. Paul worked inside the restaurant. Marvin was my supervisor. Somewhere, I still have a placard the girl who lived next door to my bunkhouse placed on my car the day I left to go home. We all had some good times and I wish I still was in contact with them.
Allan Allsup: A guy who had the first room on the left when you stepped into the 3rd floor west hall of the Iowa Wesleyan men’s dorm. He re-introduced me to backgammon. We talked music and philosophy and I’m 0-21 against him in ping-pong. Some of his life was troubled and I’ve kept my eye out for his name ever since he left to go experience what the world brought to him. Allan, I’d love to sit and talk with you some more if you’re ever in the area.
Gary Petersen, Dave Stone, Roy, and that girl who wore the miniskirts: First real job out of college (not including the month I worked at the Amoco shop.) WKEI/WJRE in Kewanee, Illinois. I was there less than two years, and when I worked the morning shift on the FM side, oh, the fun we had. Gary was the AM board operator. Dave was the newsman. The receptionist/office worker who wore the tantalizing clothing didn’t stay around long enough. The fun Dave, Gary, and I trying to make each other laugh on the air. Sportscasts, splitting up the holiday schedule. Roy and I tormenting that one guy (all in good fun, but no, we probably should not have done that. I don’t think it had any lasting effects) on the late shifts. I honored Gary a bit by giving my heroine his surname.
Becky and Jim (don’t call me James) Gaskill: She was a coworker for a time at the Oskaloosa Herald. He worked in CAD. The dart games. The card games. The dinners. The one time we all went to dinner with some of his coworkers and I got as drunk as I’ve ever been and will never be again. (Sorry about the waste basket and the knit pillow.) I saw them earlier this year when they came through on a family vacation. Everybody’s a little older, but nothing’s changed, and that’s just great.
Yvette: No, that’s not her real name, although for a time I thought it was. She was an assistant when I attended a photography course in Iowa City one week before my senior year in high school. I met her four years later when I was doing my internship at a Quad Cities radio station. She lived in the metro area and the one day I stopped by I was ‘conned’ into helping her move.
Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention a bunch of other people (sorry if I omitted your name but not by choice. I’m just brainstorming here and am bound to leave out a few): the entire class of ’84 Danville High (that’s Danville, Iowa, folks); Kim, Roger, all family (yeah, the pesky in-laws, too), Angi, Mike, Karen, everybody in any writers’ group of which I’ve been a member, Peter (Chicago!), all the ATA instructors/students at all of the camps/business meetings/tournaments; Robert (you hug-able friend), Mary, Rod, Kim (with a different last name), Mrs. Rieke (sorry, can’t get used to calling you Mary, even after all these years), Matt, Nik, Crystal, Kurt (You think I wouldn’t mention you four? Think again!), Dan, that guy I played tennis with at 1 a.m. in Keystone, those wonderful people at the AME church in Kewanee, the pre-press folks at Sutherland Printing, the other Boatheads on third floor west at Wesleyan…
…and all the rest.
Cultivate your friendships because they will make memories to last a lifetime.