by irene bean

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A Solid Foundation



Not Trying to be Corny

This Little Light of Mine

We Were Once Young

Veni, Vedi, Vinca

U Tube Has a New Star

Packing a 3-Iron

Getting Personal

Welcome Again

Well... Come on in

Christmas Shopping

There's no Substitute

Dressed for Success

Cancun Can-Can

Holy Guacamole

Life can be Crazy

The New Dog

Hurricane Reenie

He Delivers

No Spilt Milk

Naked Fingers


Have Ya Heard the One About?

The Great Caper


Barney's P***S

My New Security System

We Were Once Young

We were once young. The world was our proverbial oyster, and over the years, we reaped heaps of pearls. Though life tussled us all, we have the bruises as proof, we survived - with dignity & class intact - some more than others.

I must admit, I'm different than the others. I broke from the herd early on - marched to a different drummer. Quite honestly, I like the rhythm I dance to, but on the rare occasions when I *connect* with my pals of youth, I revel in joining in the line dance - sliding into their dependable rhythm - time and places and hearts beat to a steady cadence that I miss so very much. We connect. I feel at home. I yearn for their companionship, their laughter... well, everything.

Two of my very best pals happen to be men. These two very fine gentlemen were part of the tuxedo set I ran with during my Kansas City days.

Uncharacteristically, I'm concealing their names. I could have asked permission, which I usually do before using real names, but I know these men - their sense of propriety, humility, privacy, quietness.

Both are terribly ill at the moment. They were high school buddies. A lifelong friendship has ensued. Both have been silly-successful in their chosen fields. Both are comforted with marriages, which are abundant with love and companionship and beautiful children. They are men of extreme honor, and I am honored that they delight in my friendship.


One has ALS. I visited with him yesterday. When I arrived, he was wrapping up a conference call. It was business as usual. His son stood beside him. My friend is mentoring his son in the business.

We chatted a long while. His eyes twinkled when he called me a liar - I had proclaimed that he looked wonderful. He called me a liar three times during our visit. I scolded him each time. We laughed each time. I didn't give a fig that he was in a wheelchair, that when he spoke his splendid son had to occasionally translate for me, or that an assistant fed him while we ate a delicious lunch with lovely place settings. All I could see and hear was my beautiful, beautiful friend. He's still so handsome and bright-eyed and intelligent as the day I met him.

It wasn't until the drive home that my emotions stumbled a bit, but traffic as insane as L.A. wouldn't allow me to succumb to the tears, which were dammed on my eyes. I had flashes of him, me, all of us... in our youth. No one cut a finer figure in a tuxedo than he. He was so robust, oozed charm, good manners, and grace. He was Sean Connery on steroids. He still is - and I'm not a liar! :)

Life, in so many ways, was just starting for us.


My other great pal is recovering from grave surgery - a brain tumor. The doctors have advised that if *it* returns, life will be cut dramatically short. Bosh, I say! I called this friend while I was driving to visit my ALS pal, his lifelong friend. He hadn't known about my recent relocation. Within moments, time closed in, evaporated, brought us current - better yet, transported us back to many years ago. We laughed a lot. Reminisced a lot. It was many yesterdays that we traveled back to. *sigh* He and his wife are building a home not too far from me. Hey! Anything within six hours is close.

I asked him how he was doing. His response was remarkable, but almost predictable. "Irene, I've had a full and wonderful life. I have a beautiful wife, beautiful children, a beautiful home." All he spoke about was beauty - not one word of self-pity and the ordeal he's been through. My response was, "You've always been so damn pragmatic." We laughed. But he *meant* every word. He is grateful for his life.

He's scheduled for an MRI to determine his fate. I'm inconsolable with the possibilities. He's at peace. I have much yet to learn about life... and perhaps death.

I cling to his courage - after all, why would he be building a second home! He's going to be fine I tell myself.


Twenty years or so ago, we all sat around, many of us, and talked about a "Big Chill" party. There's talk about it again - gathering together, reminiscing, celebrating. Monetarily, we all can afford to do this. It's *time* that may be short in our coffers. Life has richly blessed us. We should be together at least one more time because ultimately, life has been good - and good friendships are rare.

God speed, dear pals.


P.S. Since this posting both my dear friends have died.

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