Sunday, May 25, 2008

Friends don’t bring warm pop

Many years ago, when I was running therapy groups, an elderly gentleman, 89 years old if I remember correctly, was taking his turn at ‘checking in.’ Referred by his children, this gentleman, I’ll call him John, had been a daily, all day long drinker until a couple years earlier. Some of the group members had been commenting on friends and friendship that morning and when it was John’s turn he said, “Let me tell you a story about friendship.” Waving a finger bent by arthritis, a finger that was attached to a hand covered with liver spots, while atrophied muscles made his knuckles seem unusually large, John said that for the last five years of his drinking he and a neighbour from across the street (both were widowers) would meet every morning around nine o’clock at John’s place. They would begin their day with a 26oz bottle of Vodka and discuss the news. When the bottle was done, usually around lunch time, this man’s friend would head back home and they would each go about their own business, meaning they would spend the rest of the day drinking by their selves. Someone from the group naturally asked, “Well, did you lose your friend when you quit drinking?”

“No, no, no,” John quickly replied. “Charlie still comes over every morning, just like we’ve been doing ever since our wives passed away. He still brings his bottle of Vodka, but now he also brings a bottle of Coke for me. And not just any Coke either. He brings cold Coke because friends don’t bring friends warm pop.”

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