Life: An unfunny joke

My long-time friend Betti called me this morning as I was taking a walk on a beautiful Southeast Texas spring day. Betti called to say she was dying.

So flabbergasted I became upon hearing such news that she told me to take 10 minutes to get things together and then call her back. It was actually a little longer than that because of some other matters which got in the way.

Between what was the effects of medication and her illness, Betti told me that she has malignancies all over and that she would likely soon be going to a hospice. My friend sounded a whole lot braver than I did on the phone as I told her I didn’t know what to say. She said that all I needed to say was “I love you,” which, despite should left being unsaid needed to be said and thus did I say so.

I have already been during the last 24 hours in the midst of a tumultuous relationship situation and now I am slapped silly by the news that my friend of some 33 years is apparently not long for this world. Perhaps it is needless to say, a lot of thoughts are coursing through my head.

I think of those seemingly endless summer days while serving in the Navy down in Gulfport. I would stop by Jim’s for a few cold beers and to see that warm and funny barmaid with the red hair named Betti tell the latest joke or to plan for some adventure or a get-together where she would make her scrumptious red beans and rice. I also think of my friends Buffalo Bob and Buddy, who would be with me for those adventures if not deployed somewhere with the Seabees such as on Okinawa or Diego Garcia. Both of those guys are now gone.

It is difficult watching your world die in front of you. Nothing can stop it and not a whole lot can help to ease your troubled mind. Such is life, as it is. Sometimes it all seems like a cruel joke.

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