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Saturday, December 3, 2022

 I can't figure out how friends happen -- but they inevitably do.

Last Sunday, two friends invited me to church because there were concerned eternal hell fires will render out my fat ass. (I've read multiple stories about fires started at crematoria where the fat of an obese person undergoing cremation have burned places down. That's why I'm eating more salads. I don't want to be that story in my own newspaper.)

During the church service, I had a true revelation: Wow, there are many hot chicks in church.

I'm not sure the singular service will solve my problem but that two people cared enough about me to invite me to the service is heartwarming. One of my ideals is to be gracious to offers to me, even if it is from people who wish to change my character and person.

Even though I remain new to the community, they were taking care of me as a friend, a new friend.

On Tuesday evening, I sat at a bar that is a mere 300 feet from my home when the bartender took a phone call and then screamed -- her house was on fire.

I couldn't fathom my friend driving to the scene so I immediately offered to drive. As we cleaned the snow and ice from her vehicle, she insisted on driving but asked me to ride along.

I tried to calm and coach her as she drove on roads with 5 inches of newly accumulated snow. I told her when to slow down and managed some phone calls during the drive to her rural home. "It's better to get there than not," I repeated. "You're doing a great job," I repeated.

She's my friend.

Initial information suggested it was a chimney fire but when we turned into the driveway, we could see flames 30 feet into the air. Her family home was fully engulfed, rare for home fires.

I stayed for a couple hours, hugging family members and trying to serve as an interpreter between firefighter language and family language. I've been to more than enough fires I care to think about.

After a couple hours, I texted a friend to come pick me up. I hadn't brought a coat or gloves or appropriate shoes. In choosing to offer assistance, I jumped into the breech. That's decades of response on breaking news stories.

It's also about immediately responding to friends' needs. My friend needed someone with her, just as my friends in church are trying to save me.

I need friends, too.

I texted a friend asking for a ride home from the fire, which had continued for almost two hours.

She and her boyfriend arrived and found a way to hoist my fat ass into one of those trucks where the access is three feet off the ground.

I didn't talk much during their rescue and decided I didn't want to sit in the bar where the drama first occurred. Instead, I drove to a nearby watering hole where I could order a decent -- and stiff -- Jack Daniels Manhattan. But on the drive over, I thought I had a flat tire -- it was a cold night in the Northwoods. The car was shaking uncontrollably. On arrival, all the tires were full.

When I walked into the bar, I realized the shaking was me. I had hypothermia. With little knowledge of medical nomenclature, I believe that meant my "thermia" was "hypo."

The story of my week is that friends give. Friends don't hesitate to give.

And I remain the luckiest bastard in the history of the world.

Peace unto Ukraine and peace and friendship unto all of you my brothers and sisters.


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