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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • RUSSELL HIVELY: Lifelong friend

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  • I was thinking about some recent guests we had the other morning as I walked along Wildcat Boulevard.
    These particular folks stopped in for a day and night. They were headed to a family reunion north of Dallas and thought they would stop by when they passed through Neosho.
    My wife told someone about our out-of-town guests and said the man was a friend of mine. The lady asked me how long we had been friends. I thought a moment and told her our parents had been close friends, so he had been my friend my entire life.
    As I walked along, I began to think of the ties my friend and I have. Our parents were friends years before we were born. In their younger years, our parents attended dances together and especially liked to go when a small band led by Lawrence Welk played.
    When I was in first grade, we moved to the farm next to my friend. Being next door neighbors only added to our closeness.
    Even as young grade school boys, Mike and I would walk across the pasture between our farms to play together. We usually built roads with the toy road equipment I was fortunate enough to have.
    On still nights we could yell a conversation back and forth across the pasture. I stood on the north side of our barn, while Mike's best yelling place was on the roof of their chicken house.
    We attended the same church, went to the same school, and were always in the same classes.
    When we were fourth graders, his family moved to another farm and he had to change schools. They still attended our church, however.
    In time, my friend's brother married a cousin of mine, and Mike married the niece of a farmer I worked for some three or four summers.
    I was a groomsman at Mike and Sandy's wedding a little over 50 years ago. I recall my friend telling the best man, the other groomsman, and me that we were chosen as we were his "old" friends. He wanted his marriage to last like our friendships had.
    I have been fortunate to have had several good friends, but I also have a lifelong friend. I'm glad he stopped for a visit.
    Take a walk, take pleasure in all your friends, use those signal lights, and see what you think about while walking along Wildcat Boulevard.
    Russell Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.

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