FROM MY FRONT PORCH
Sam Houston is the publisher of the Hood County News. He is also an actor, author, playwright, performer and entertainment producer/promoter.
Since I began writing this column, I have occasionally written about my friend Miss Jayne. There has been enough written about her that I occasionally get comments from people on the street, or emails from readers wanting an update and asking how she is doing. For those of you who do not know Miss Jayne, she is a 93-year-old widow originally from Durant, Oklahoma, but has lived in Gainesville for over 70 years.
She is a retired public school music teacher, a good Christian, and my close friend. Just a little over a week ago, I moved her from Gainesville to an assisted care facility located near me so I could do a better job of keeping an eye on her. It was tough for a 93-year-old to leave their adopted hometown and start a new life, but she is settling into her new location and doing fine.
Staff and residents in her assisted living facility have asked how Miss Jayne and I are related, and she responds by saying, “we are not related by blood, we are related by love.” I am not sure there is a better description of our relationship.
When my mother was alive but lived 400 miles away, she would call my neighbor Miss Jayne to find out what I was up to and how I was doing. Even though I called almost daily and traveled to see mom regularly, she wanted an independent source of information about how my life was going. The two senior citizens would contact each other and “conspire” to keep up on all my comings and goings. They never failed to offer me their advice, whether it was solicited or not. Maybe because I was single for so many years, the two women felt a duty and were compelled to attempt to “mother me.”
Once mom died, and Miss Jayne’s son passed from stroke shortly thereafter, she and I fell into a unique situation. We both had empty spaces in our hearts which needed to be filled and whether it be described as fate, an act of God, or blind luck, our hearts joined. We are close and care very deeply for each other.
For over twenty years we have listened to the problems of each other, offered advice and counsel, but most importantly, always offered support. It is a deep sort of friendship I fear many people never experience. Its very nature makes one feel warm and loved because the obligations between us are completely made by free choice, and not by the obligations of blood. To us, it makes what we share that much more special.
Miss Jayne is pleased with her new surroundings. The food is terrific, the staff is kind and considerate, and she gets to see me almost every day. While the 93 years of living have left their mark on her, she enjoys dining with her new friends, playing bingo, and watching westerns on TV. We acknowledge the time we have left to share our friendship is dwindling; it may be hours or years, but we know it is short. Our intention is to “use up” every second and relish that we were blessed to have each other in our lives. We are blessed my wife understands our friendship and she so willingly and graciously shares me with Jayne.
Friendship cannot be bought. It cannot be traded for or otherwise acquired. It is one of the greatest assets in our “treasury” of life. Stop and think about your friends for a second. Write that letter or email you have been putting off. Pick up that phone and reconnect with someone who has slipped to the back corner of your life. Sit down with that special person who understands and knows you and tell them how much you love and appreciate them. You will never regret it.
Thought for the day: A true friend is someone who walks in, when the rest of the world is walking out.
Until next time … I will keep ridin’ the storm out.
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