Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Lesson In Friendship

From the September issue of Bits and Pieces.
Here is a story from a reader that illustrates
what can happen when we take a friendship for
granted.


WHEN I WAS SIX, my older brother and I were
followed home by a stray dog who’d been hang-
ing around a livery stable. I took some meat
from the house and fed it to him. And from that
moment on, I had a new best friend. I called
him Butch.

Butch accompanied me every morning on
my paper route. He even helped me with the
contest I entered to sign up new subscribers.
While I spun a tale of how I hoped to sell extra
papers to earn the money to buy my dog a li-
cense, Butch would sit nearby looking sad. It
worked like a charm.

That winter, a friend gave me an old dog
harness that I used to hook up Butch to the
sleigh. By now, he knew the paper route by heart.
Butch pulled me around the neighborhood as
I threw the papers from the sleigh. We were
inseparable.

But things changed after I went to high
school. When I discovered girls, I spent less
time with Butch. And he didn’t like that.

Once, we visited my friend George whose
dad was a blacksmith and worked out of a barn
on their property. I don’t know if it was the
horses or the hay that evoked memories of the
stables, but Butch immediately took a liking to
the place.

George made a big fuss over Butch. He fed him
and played with him. And when it was time to
go home, Butch didn’t want to leave.
There were times after that when Butch
would go off and not return for days. I soon
learned that Butch was hanging out at George’s
place, and sleeping over.

One day, I was coming out of my dad’s cof-
fee shop with Butch. George walked by and
called out to him. Was George trying to steal
my dog? I called out to Butch, too. For a few
moments, Butch just sat there looking between
us. Then he got up and went to George. I was
heartbroken.

That day I learned that the best way to keep
a friend is to be a friend.

Contributed by reader David M. Vassos
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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