Tuesday, January 1, 2013

In Praise of Friends

There is a line, in an otherwise forgettable movie, which has always stuck with me.

If I have used it here before, forgive me.

The movie is called "Tequila Sunrise" and it was a star vehicle for Mel Gibson, Michelle Pfeiffer and Kurt Russell.

It's a classic love triangle and Mel Gibson's life as a former drug dealer trying to go straight is complicated by his friend, Russell, the county sheriff in L.A. and his other friend, the late, great Raul Julia, as his primary drug dealing source and, for plot, a high-ranking member of the Mexican police.

Things proceed apace as you would expect in a Hollywood ho-hum and finally, Gibson must choose between Julia's character and Pfeiffer's. I think we all know how that ends up.

Anyway, Julia begins ranting and within that rant says something which struck me as profound.
Raul and Mel

He said, and a paraphrase: "Friends are the only thing you get to choose in life."

Your family? You're born into them.

Your job, well yes to some extent you choose that, but in terms of the people that fill your life, he's right.

And while Christmas has become a holiday we mostly spend with family (although Feziwig's ball strikes me as a way I would like to spend Christmas). more often New Year's is a holiday we tend to spend with friends.

Whether drunken revelries or more sedate New Year's Day pork-fests (yes, I've learned a thing or two here in PA), it seems to be the holiday in which friends are more likely to figure largely.
Brandie and I on her moving day.

I have been blessed, over the years, with many friends and I covet them all rather dearly.

I won't try to name you all, lest a name be left off and bad feelings ensue.

But in the past few months, I have been faced with the departure of two -- both co-workers at The Mercury.

One, Brandie Kessler, is already gone on to the York Daily Record although, with the frequency of her return visits to Pottstown, it's sometimes hard to tell.

(:) just kidding Brandie.)

The other will be departing soon.

I have lost track of the number of years I have known our business editor, Michelle Karas.
Michelle got me a gig helping Craft Ale House pour Sly Fox 
beer at the Pottstown Volleyball Rumble, our only payment
being free samples. If that doesn't say "friend," I don't know
what does.

When she first came to our newsroom, she was the rookie reporter and, as is often the case, I was assigned to show her how we do things at The Mercury.

She was a quick study and, I soon learned, a gentle but adventurous soul.

In the coming days, she will leave us and move another step up her career ladder, becoming the editor of The Bennington Banner, in Vermont -- still within the JRC/DFM family, but far from Pottstown.

I wish her well and I know she will do well.

Michelle is smart, talented and ready to take on this challenge and responsibility

Plus, she loves to ski, which is one of our Mercury newsroom nicknames for her, so this move works out all the way around -- except for those of us who, selfishly, will miss her.

Friends are, after all, one of the few things we get to choose in this life.

But being friends also means wanting what's best for them, and this one is a no-brainer.

So on this first day of 2013, I lift my glass to all my friends, to Michelle in particular, and advise you to do the same to those friends closest to you.

I've lost a few this year and their value becomes ever-clearer with the loss.

Don't let the year go by without letting your friends know how much they mean to you.

If you fulfill no other New Year's Resolution in 2013, you will have done better than most of us.

Happy New Year to all of you reading this blog post; to all my friends; and to all those friends I have not yet met.

No comments:

Post a Comment