By Judy Bluhm Foothills Focus Guest Columnist
Friendship. They can start at any moment and span a lifetime. Sometimes friendships form, mysteriously, against all odds. A 12-year- old boy with autism, Jake, was asked by his 80-year-old neighbor, Mr. Brown, if he could help by doing some odd jobs. What started out as a few mundane weekly chores like pulling the garbage can in and out, gradually grew to something else. Jake did not talk much, had few friends and often slapped himself repeatedly in the head. He lived with his single mom and was an only child. Mr. Brown was a widower and loved to play chess. Eventually, Mr. Brown got Jake interested in the game and life changed for both of them.
After school, Jake would go over to Mr. Brown’s house. Together they played chess and talked. Jake eventually learned how to sit still, stop slapping himself and hold a conversation. Mr. Brown found a kind and curious companion and Jake found a best buddy. Friendship has no age restrictions.
When my horse, Sedona, became gravely ill and was on stall rest, two large ravens often sat on her fence rail. I was surprised at the antics of these two huge birds, wondering what they were up to. They would sit for long periods of time, shoulder to shoulder on the rail, while Sedona was lying down. Were these birds my horse’s new friend? Every day the two ravens spent hours with Sedona. Sometimes I saw the ravens pick up little bits of apple that had fallen from our tree and fly over the barn, dropping them into Sedona’s stall! They were bringing my horse a treat! Friends fly to any heights to comfort us.
A woman hiking alone on a trail, heard a whimpering sound in a bush. When she went to investigate, she found a dog covered with blood lying on the ground. The dog, a 50-pound mixed breed, was bleeding from the neck. The woman scooped up the dog and carried him 1 mile back to the car. She rushed him to the vet to find the dog had been shot. That was two years ago, and “Hope” is now healthy, happy and the woman’s best friend.
Jake is in college now and says Mr. Brown saw something more in him than just autism, but the man he might become. Jake saw Mr. Brown not as elderly, but as a friend. After Sedona died, two ravens sat on her fence rails, screeching “caw, caw, caw” over and over again.
A woman can carry a dying dog for a mile and never realize he is heavy.
Time and attention are the currency of friendship. And like love, it is a treasure bestowed upon us that makes life worth living. Witnessing love, is as joyful as watching a raven communicate with a horse and as sorrowful as hearing his plaintive call when she is gone. It is as special as watching an old man see the future potential in a young boy. Or as powerful as carrying the wounded through hardship. Today, more than ever, it is friendship that matters.
Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a comment or a story? Email Bluhm at email@example.com.