By Tony Hooker
Friends. How many of us have them? Friends. Ones we can depend on?
This musical question, posed by those late twentieth century hip hop philosophers Whodini in 1984, still resonates today.
It’s been said that every person who enters our lives, no matter the duration, is sent there for a reason. Maybe sometimes those reasons aren’t apparent. Maybe they’re not always even benevolent, but if we pay attention we can gain something from them, even if it’s just the hard facts.
Over the course of my half century plus of walking this planet, I’ve had some amazing friends. Some I’m still in contact with, and others whose paths have diverged from my own. I’m sure those who are reading this are giving me a big Duh! Everyone has friends, right?
As always, there’s some sort of method to my madness.
All of this is a prelude to the following thought. It is my fervent wish that your friends are as good as mine. Take this past Saturday morning for example. At 6:55 a.m., I had a steel double patio door that we never used which led into our kitchen. By noon, I had a new wall, along with a 3×3 sliding window installed in its place, with the exterior completely sided and drywall up with the first coat of mud applied. The cost? A couple of Roast Beast sammiches from Tri City CC. (side note: if you haven’t had one of these yet, you should give them a try.) At 7:00 a.m. on a Sunday, Curtie B was back in my kitchen, sanding and mudding his work from the day before.
As much as I would like to take some credit for the project, my participation was very limited. I got to take off the old siding, and stuff insulation into the wall before the drywall went up, and I also got to put the drywall tape up. I think basically the two guys who knew what they were doing were just humoring me. That’s the kind of friends they are. Of course, my grace on ladders earned me the nickname “The Gazelle”, many years ago. In retrospect, I don’t think it was a complement.
The coolest thing about the morning, other than watching two guys who are masters at their craft doing their thing, was the easy camaraderie that exists between us. No mistake goes unnoticed, and no one is immune to good natured needling. Astro, my bestie for more than 35 years now, (how the heck did that happen? Weren’t we flipping burgers at the mall Hardee’s last week?) showed up 15 minutes late, and was subject to many slings and arrows of verbal abuse for his tardiness during the course of the project. He had the last laugh however, as he finished his part of the project and sat in a lawn chair with his feet propped up while Broke and I continued to labor, and by labor, I mean he did his thing with the drywall and I cleaned up messes.
There’s another old saying that ‘Friends help you move. True friends help you move bodies,’ and while I’ll never test that bromide, I’m pretty confident that there aren’t many things my friends won’t do for me, and for that I’m grateful.