In This Issue....
by Mark Hamilton
The subject of friendship is always a popular topic. A lot is said about it, songs are written about it, movies and television shows are made about it, and yet I'm convinced we really don't understand it. Just for starters, there are so many levels to friendship: friends, close friends, intimate friends, friends for life, best friends, business friends, golfing friends, bowling buddies. That list could be ever so much longer, but you've already got the idea. I think the reality of friendship is that it is much bigger than we know or choose to believe.
The things that bind friendships are numerous, as numerous as the things people have as interests. Music, politics, children, cooking, gardening, swimming, competitive tanning, any and all have served as the basis for friendships. The depth of friendships initially has more to do with the depth of commitment to the interests that bind the people; friendships can then deepen from increased knowledge and appreciation for each other.
As we move through life we continue to make new friends, change the nature of our relationships with other friends, and along the way we loose a few friends as well. One of the most amazing people Sue and I have ever known, and a very close friend as well, was Val Slade. At Val's memorial service her friends got to meet each other, for many of us it was for the very first time. The one thing that became apparent to all of us was how little we all had in common with each other, except for the fact that we were all Val's friends. There really wasn't anything other than our common connection to Val that would bind us all each to the other. We found that Val had collected a unique and amazingly diverse group of truly interesting people to be her friends.
Sue and I went north to visit with some friends this past spring. It was past time for us to visit and we wanted those friendships to be based on more than just knowing each other's email addresses. While we were there we also got to make some new friends, and we thoroughly enjoyed everybody's company.
For Sue and me, unlike our friend Val, a substantial percentage of our friends come from a somewhat narrow range of interests. So, many of our friends relate in some way to sled dogs, dog sledding, canines in general or canine behavior. It's a difficult concept for people who are not "doggie" to grasp, that something as simple as a group of dogs binds us to so many people scattered around the world. But bind us they do, and we not only acknowledge the connection, we embrace it.
Today just seems like a real good time to acknowledge all of our friends: our old friends and our new friends, those that we see more often and those that we see not so often. Thank you all for being our friends.