dog_paddlerFifteen years ago I spoke with a person employed in the mental health field. The topic at hand was relationships — despite our best efforts, we probably ended up there because I was dealing with the aftermath of a rather disastrous breakup.

When we discussed our less tempestuous relationships, I remarked that I still kept tabs with a few of my high school and college buddies. When I further added that my three closest ‘best friends’ and I have pal’d around on a weekly basis for the past quarter of century, she blurted out a guffaw of earnest surprise. Her shocked expression told me that the concept of such a long relationship (outside of marriage) was totally alien to her.

I wonder what she would think now – I’ve known these people for 40 years now, and I still hold these three friends close to my heart. So much so, that they are part of my adopted family, and I am part of theirs. I am ‘Uncle Chris’ to at least 5 children that I have zero blood relation to. I have watched these people grow from screaming ankle-biters to smart, sane individuals who I am extremely happy and proud to know. Probably more than most of my actual blood-relations. We still hug whenever we meet, fer cryin’-out-loud.
I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It also is more than a little surprising that they haven’t gotten sick & tired of me after all this time.

Let’s hope this is a living definition of ‘friend’ that Facebook doesn’t dilute or erase.

Image courtesy of thedogpaddler.com