I have never been a wealthy woman, as far as money goes. Great wealth involves great sacrifice, and usually that sacrifice comes at the expense of children. When I could help it, I would choose more time with my children over more money.
Nevertheless, my needs have always been met. We have never gone hungry. At times when I have needed it most, money would appear, either anonymously, by a fifty slipped into my palm, or by a check handed to me with a smile. My true wealth has come in the form of my friends.
Lee Iacocca reports, “My father always used to say that when you die, if you've got five real friends, then you've had a great life.” To my great fortune I can count friends by the scores who have made my life better--friends who have appeared when I needed them the most and have refused to go away. A book of their stories swims inside my brain, but for now I will spare you the checklist of kindnesses done for me, and will focus on just one.
Computer Geek and I were in a situation in late 2008 where we needed to move with very short notice. Luckily for us, we had some friends who managed a duplex and they had one opening. They allowed us to move in, with no deposit required.
We lived there for a little over a year and then moved again. When moving day came, lots of friends showed up to assist. By evening, we had only one item left to move—Computer Geek’s motorcycle.
A word now about CG’s motorcycle-- it was a piece. I feared for his life whenever he chose to take it out for a ride. It was old, very old, and was not in the best of shape when he inherited it many years ago. The seat was gray fur, the color of wet mop strings, and there were parts that looked like they would fall apart from the vibration of the motor. It was a fine piece of machinery in his eyes, a piece that refused to start when it was time to move.
Our friend/landlord, who is mechanically inclined, offered to roll it down to his house on the other end of the block to take a look at it. He kept it over the next few months saying that he would change the oil and see if there was anything else wrong with it.
A few weeks ago, I was driving home from school when I saw friend/landlord driving a motorcycle down the street that goes past our new house. He stopped me and asked when would be a good time to bring the bike back to Computer Geek. During the course of our brief conversation, I realized that the motorcycle he was sitting on was the old, ugly, beat-up bike that belonged to CG. Only it wasn’t beat up or ugly any more. It was n-i-c-e.
A little party was planned complete with ice cream and scrumptious seven-layer bars provided by our friend’s family. When CG got home from work and walked into the back yard filled with friends who were anxious to see the look on his face, he stopped and looked at his cell phone calendar, sure he was a month early for his birthday. He was stunned to see the transformation wrought by the skilled hands of our friend. Another friend painted the gas tank and yet another had donated money for parts.
Once again, another chapter was added to my mental book of kind things done for us by our friends. And I no longer cringe when CG wants to take a grandchild for a ride.
"The making of friends, who are real friends, is the best token we have of a man's success in life."
Edward Everett Hale
Edward Everett Hale