090617thegang

Microsoft Word - headline.docxFriend (n) 1a: one attached to another by affection or esteem

b: acquaintance

2: one that is not hostile <Is he a friend or an enemy?>

3: a favored companion

4 capitalized: a member of a Christian sect that stresses Inner Light, rejects sacraments and ordained ministry, and opposes war, also called Quaker

No. Nothing in the dictionary really covers it.

How would you refer to an intimate group of friends you’ve known 50 years? … 50 years? … 50 years!

Perhaps a few snapshots would help.

A real friend is someone who hops into the car and drives 12 hours when you’re sick.

Or drives 12 hours when your daughter is getting married.

Or a friend is someone who, through a planned series of tricks, leaves you standing on the front porch during afternoon traffic nekkid as a jaybird! (What can I say? We were in college at the time.) Regardless of which side of that risqué episode you’re on, you’ve gotta admit it’s funny. Friendship gives permission to laugh at each other, not just with each other.

See those six people in the picture up there? We’re all friends. Been friends for 50 years this month. That’s the Eddlemons on the left, the Williamses in the middle and the Greers at right. We shot this on the last day of our beach vacation in July 2008.

Beaches are our favorite vacation spots. And they’re usually in the Florida Panhandle. But one year we went down to Key West, perhaps our most memorable vacation.

Back when we were young, newly minted college graduates, we started with houseboats on Kentucky Lake. Two years we did houseboats.

I can tell you about waking up scared straight because something was trying to knock the boat over in the middle of the night! Turns out we didn’t drop anchor far enough from the main channel and a barge just about swamped us.

And I can tell you about losing my Dad’s 12-foot aluminum fishing boat we pulled along behind the houseboat for some crazy reason. It came unmoored one night – maybe when the barge almost swamped us – and floated away. We looked and looked, but how much searching can you do when you’re limited by the speed of a houseboat? Turns out a game warden found the boat, swamped but still afloat, a couple of miles away.

Some of the tales I’ll leave for your imagination. After all, I’d like to keep the G rating on this blog.

But I digress. Where was I?

Oh, yes, friends.

These six live in Jackson, Tenn.; Franklin, Tenn.; and Plant City, Fla.

We’ve planned our Golden Friendiversary vacation next week – Hurricane Irma willin’ – at Rosemary Beach, Fla., a small community just west of Panama City Beach. No one will go deep sea fishing. Or parachute riding from the back of a boat. Or snorkeling. We’re beyond those adventures.

I think I can guarantee we’ll not lose any boats, and no one, absolutely no one will stand nekkid on the front porch. At our age, we no longer seek to display our physiques, either by accident or otherwise.

“Friends.” Indeed. Guess that’ll have to do.

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