Caussey's Corner

The Importance of Friendship: A Texas Father’s Advice to His Son

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Dad never attended church, and I never saw him read the Bible, but he was as disciplined as a prophet, honest as Job, and honorable as Abraham. And his prayers would make a Holy Ghost preacher weep. His church was the outdoors, housed by cathedrals built with morning sunrises, spring rain, loud crickets, and moon filled nights. Cool well water, a glowing wood-filled cookstove, and Momma’s biscuits would be called miracles compared to those of the apostles.

One day as Dad plowed on the big John Deere tractor, I explored a nearby creek, hunted crawdad holes, chased cottontail rabbits, and practiced the skills of identifying birds in flight. As the sun began to sink below the horizon and coyotes yelped at the new moon, Dad cut the engine and got off the tractor. He placed his arm on my shoulder as we started the two-mile walk home and began to talk about the importance of friendship.

“Son, I want to tell you two things. They may be the most important things I ever tell you. Remember them always. These are the best times of your life. You are free to run and do anything you want. You can play, sleep, read, or take Patso and chase field rabbits. This time will come to an end sooner than you think. Enjoy your youth. Friends are more important than family, money, or career.”

The Importance of Friendship: A Texas Father's Advice to His Son

Photo: Pixabay

“Son, it will not be long till your mom and I will be gone. I will not be there to teach you in words or by example. Someone else must take our place. Someday you will have your own children. But they will become independent, marry, and may move away. And take the grandchildren, who would rather be with their friends than Granddad. It is natural for them to want their own lives and careers.” He went on to speak about how friendship becomes especially important in our later years. “At some point, you will no longer be able to work. Old age will take its toll. Most will forget your accomplishments, and someone will take your place quickly and easily. Money won’t be as important. But a comfortable chair, a nice fire, and an old dog will be perfect companions. Work to keep your friends, constantly add new ones as old ones pass away. They will sustain you when life gives you a twist.”

Now as I sit here in the twilight of my life, I understand completely what Dad meant about the importance of friendship. So here is a salute to my childhood friends, Bob Balch, Mary Miller, and Mr. Young, my high school history teacher. To my adult friends and comrades gone from this earth, like Major Tommy Stiver buried in Arlington Cemetery, and Sgt. Jimmy Jones resting somewhere in the forest or rivers of Viet Nam. To my present friends like Charlie Tupper, David Mills, and David Foyt, whom I see and talk to often. But most especially my wife and best friend JoAnn, who brings such joy and love to my life.

Thanks, Dad, for these words of widsom about the importance of friendship.

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