Friends are important at each stage of our life. As children we have a "best friend," which may change daily. As teenagers we usually have an "in-group" of friends we can count on. Again, that group can change with circumstances, and love affairs that complicate the grouping. But as we enter the middle age plus years, friendships become stable and especially important to us. As we lose our parents and some of our siblings, we find that having a wide group of friends is more essential than ever.
These friends may have been developed fairly recently, or they may be from years back. Both are important. The old friends have shared many years with us. They know "what you used to be." The new friends have been drawn to the person you are now and may not even be aware of what you once achieved. They just like you.
Last week Lester and I had the opportunity to see many of our old friends (and some of them were old in age as well). A very special friend, Louise Fisher, of Butler, was celebrating her 90th birthday. The fellowship hall of the church was crowded with her many friends and relatives. We knew many of them, and were supposed to know some of the others also, but we had become too old to recognize them! I am sure they still looked the same as they did in 1974 when we moved from Butler.
Louise and her late husband Bill, were our next door neighbors for six years and have remained close friends ever since. She was the friend I could trust with my thoughts and secrets, and could cry on her shoulder. But more importantly she was a friend that I could have fun with, do extra things with, and share family bonds.
One great thing about the party was the chance to talk with another neighbor and my former "boss" when I wrote a column for the Bates County Democrat newspaper. I called that column "Caught in the Middle" and its popularity made me comfortable with starting my present column here.
C.A. Moore, the editor of the present weekly newspaper in Butler, The News XPESS, always writes a column himself inside the back page of the paper. In the Dec. 4 edition, his column was about Lester and me. We had talked with C.A. and his wife for several minutes at Louise's party. I didn't realize that he was collecting information.
Part of our conversation was about how the newspaper world is changing. C.A. mentioned the fact that many people consider the paper newspaper no longer important, but the four of us all agreed that we like to have a paper we can hold in our hand. In fact C.A. mentioned that he was glad there were still some dinosaurs like Lester and me (and he included himself also) who haven't given up on the printed page.
C.A. included some information about us to bring his readers up to date on who he was writing about. It's rewarding to know that old friends can get a glimpse into the present lives of each other. Too often the Christmas letter is the only contact we make with those who once shared a big part of our lives.
People like Louise Fisher will always have many good friends. We are grateful that we can be counted among them. And it's great to know a fellow dinosaur remembered us.