Sunday, March 4, 2012

The great circle of life and friendship . . .

(grab a cold one, settle in a comfy chair . . this is liable to be a LONG one folks)


Have you ever given much thought about WHERE you have gathered those close to you? As to exactly when and where you and a certain person became "friends" in the first place?

I have given that much thought recently . . in the matter of a mere week, I tearfully held the hand of one friend and said goodbye as he lost his battle with cancer and joyfully hugged another hello . . . all the space of 7 days. Life is SO amazing.

Be it Divine intervention, Fate, Karma . . . whatever you want to call it . . I consider it to be both amazing and humbling.

Let me tell you several stories, that eventually weave themselves into one.

Both, in part begin with Facebook and Farmville . . yep, Farmville . . that annoying game that clutters up your Facebook feed with requests from virtual "friends" for things like cows, trees and imaginary bones for imaginary dogs.

I began playing Farmville several years ago. Something I SWORE I wouldn't do . . but it sucks in you slowly . . an addiction worse than crack I swear. First it starts off with completing a few simple tasks then to get any further in the game you must have "friends" . . when you run out of real friends . . the flesh and blood ones you already know and can talk into it . . you eventually start asking complete strangers to be your "friends" so you can get more stuff, to grow bigger crops and a bigger farm.

These people must first be Facebook friends . . . and that is truly where the interesting thing happens. Your learn a LOT about people from Facebook . . it is impossible to not show your soul somewhere along the line (at least for me LOL) . . . you post pics of your kids, your family, your home, your life and over the course of time . . the virtual friends begin to feel like friends you have known your entire life . . not all of them . . but MANY do. I think it is simple human nature to reach out to others in time of great joy and great need.

I have a LOT of Facebook friends, many I know in person . . and many, many more that were gathered along the virtual path that I have never met face to face . . but feel I would defend with my life if it came down to it. Some are here in Bristow . . ones that I have never met but believe me, am planning to now!

Today . . I got to meet one, in the flesh in person . . . and it was like hugging someone I have known forever. Isn't life grand?

I got my best friend Kitty shamelessly hooked on Farmville (addictions are better shared you know) and somewhere along the way we ended up with a lot of the same "virtual" friends . . the ones you can count on to send you a cow when you really needed it or to feed your pigs or play with your virtual dog.

There are several people we both immediately bonded with . . those people that you meet on the road in life and stop with amazement and say . . "Hey, I know you . . you're like me"

Eventually, you start chatting on Facebook with these new friends . . you comment on their kids, their likes their dislikes . . you somehow become invested in their lives and you share in their joy and their pain and reach out virtually to comfort when the need arises. We both became equally attached to a wonderful person named Michelle Wheatcraft . . . about our age, same likes, dislikes, quirky sense of humor and adventure and often talked about just getting in the damn car, driving to Pennsylvania and knocking on her door LOL . . we're known to do shit like that.

So . . . in the course of many conversations over several YEARS, I discovered that Michelle had relatives in Oklahoma.

So here is where the story comes full circle . . . last week I held the hand of a very good friend while he lost his battle to cancer . . . Ronald Schmidt, a.k.a. local DJ, Dusty Edwards. We bonded 18 years ago when I first moved to Oklahoma with a common background in the County Music industry. I promised him I would be with him to the end . . and I was. We spent countless hours driving to and from various doctor appointments in deep conversation about all types of subjects . . life, love, friendship and including of all things. . . Farmville . . he was my Farmville neighbor too . . I was telling him about a lady I met on Facebook and with Farmville and was telling him about her brother who along with his partner, own a bar in Tulsa (this is where Fate intervenes I believe . . ) and low and behold, he actually knew her brother and had DJ'd parties at his bar. When I told him that his sister was flying to Tulsa for her brother's 50th birthday . . Dusty was SO excited for me, and was looking forward visiting their bar again, with me in tow LOL (said I would need a body guard and he was it . . period) I'm sorry to say we didn't have the chance to do just that. Dusty lost his battle last week. I got to hold his hand, I stayed to the end . . that is what friends do.

And today . . I got to come full circle and hug a new friend hello! Life is funny that way. I think sometimes you just have to be open to the possibilities and see what is already in front of you. Through Dusty, I have bonded with several people in town that were mere acquaintances . . that I now consider to be dear friends. Through Farmville, I have turned virtual friends into REAL ones . . . and somehow managed to find ONE that we both had something in common with. How many kinds of wonderful is that.

Michelle and I spoke on the phone for the first time several days ago and made plans to meet in person when she was in Tulsa. . and she said something in the course of the conversation that terrified me for DAYS. She said "I hope you are in fun in person as you are online" . . and I thought "Oh God . . what if . . " What if we meet and we don't like each other? What if we sit there and have NOTHING in common after all and NOTHING to talk about? OMG . . I called Kitty . . and was almost in tears (she is my voice of reason, and I hers) . . she assured me everything would be JUST fine and by they way . . she hated me because she couldn't meet her too.

We agreed to meet at a local Irish pub, a favorite haunt of mine . . filled with memorable comfort food from my childhood (since I hail from an Irish from the insides out family LOL) . . it was a "safe" place for me . . and a lovely place to make new friends!

From the moment she walked in and we placed a bear hug on each other . . it was non-stop conversation . . . I am in LOVE. She IS like me . . and I am like her and this is what makes this great world go round!! Three hours flew by, accompanied by great food and pints of Guinness . . life is GOOD. To quote something I once heard . . ."time seemed to grow wings and fly".

I brought her a necklace . . a full circle fashioned from the Claddagh . . where two hands make a complete circle and symbolizes love and friendship. (I was going to buy her a cow . . for the Farmville thing . . but a Claddagh just seemed more "right")

We have made plans to meet again hopefully in May . . to take a two week road trip from Pennsylvania to New Orleans . . not making any plans to do anything special other than let the road be our guide (a dream of hers) . . and we're bringing Kitty too, since she couldn't be here today . . she's NOT getting out of the next meeting. . . then I will drag her ass up and down the Appalachian trail for a week of hiking and camping on the trail (a dream of mine).

So here's to old friends I will truly miss . . new ones I have met . . and ones I have yet to meet (so . . . watch out Scott LaCombe . . Kitty, Michelle and I know where you live . . thanks to Facebook . . you never know who might come knocking on your door! . . and we ARE planning on it).

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