Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A 40 Year Old Act of Kindness

There were lots of people I hung around during elementary and Jr. high school but most of the people I thought of as friends were either cousins or friends from church or both. Some of them were Mike, Eric, Bobby, Delmar, Chris, Steve, Paul, Angie, Annette, Jennifer, Laura and Dean. All of them were cousins or church friends. All of them were good long time friends.

In high school there were several more added to that list and most of them were family or church related too. I am still friends or at least acquaintances with some of them and of course the ones that are family are stuck with me I guess.

A 40 Year Act of Kindness

I had a special friend in elementary School and through Jr. high. This friend was different in that he was not a cousin and I did not meet him at church. He was a friend I met at school and he absolutely proved he was my friend.

Let me tell you a story about how I knew this boy was my friend. It is a story that has stuck with me about 40 years. I think about it often and I have told Kelly Jo and Odie about it numerous times.

He had a birthday coming up. I do not remember how old he was going to be, probably 9 or 10. We were basically the same age. His mother was going to take him out to eat at a special place for his birthday. Part of his gift was that he was allowed to choose someone from school to go to dinner with them.

He chose me. He could have asked any other boy in the whole school to go with him on his special birthday dinner to a nice restaurant, but he did not ask someone else. He asked me to go.

He chose me and I felt very special. I knew this was a really neat thing, even as a boy. It was his birthday and I was the one receiving the best gift. I have never forgotten it.

The big evening came and we went to Peking Inn on 725 in Centerville, Ohio. It was the first time I had ever eaten Chinese and my first time to eat duck. They served the food in fancy metal covered dishes. I had never experienced anything like it. It was a great night!

This was not a family that was accustomed to meals like that. They were hard working people living from week to week just like my family. It was a big day for their oldest son and they chose to include me in their special occasion. I still feel honored today.

I spent the night with him that night and we enjoyed a great friendship through the years. We had a lot of good times, hanging out at his house, riding bikes and mopeds, fishing and playing with other friends and cousins from town. He was a true friend and my life is better because he was my friend when we were boys.

I thought about all of this again the last few days because his mother passed away. Her funeral is today in Waynesville. She was kind to me. Her thoughtfulness brought two boys together that needed each other. We remained friends into High School and his mother always welcomed me in her home.

Times like this and my cousin's funeral last Saturday cause me to wish we were home a little more. I can not be home, but it did make me think. Have I ever told him what that birthday dinner invitation meant to me then and still means to me now?

Surely I had enough manners to say thank you then. But there is no way I could have known what an impact his one act of kindness would have on me the next few years and still today. 

I have said thank you the best way I can now. I sent him a note and I am thanking him in front of God and everybody right now. Thank you, friend, for being a friend to a boy that needed one. I have never forgotten it.

I have only seen him once or maybe twice in passing since we left High School nearly 32 years ago. But that does not diminish the value of his friendship to me as a boy.

All of this makes me want to be very careful to treat people well. The old saying is true, People may not remember what you said, they may not remember what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel!

I will be praying for my old friend and his brothers during the funeral today. May God help him and comfort him and draw him near during the terrible loss of his mother.

Thank you for reading.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Because of an enormous amount of spam all comments will require word verification and will be moderated. They may not be visible for a few minutes. We love it when you participate in the conversation. Thanks for leaving a comment!