Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Friends I Miss

Okay, so technically these people are not "family." That doesn't mean I can't miss our former neighbors when Di and I lived on the Bar Nothing Ranch.

Below are Sherrie and Leslie. They were the queen bees of the "Loop" (as we referred to Pine Valley Loop, the road on which they and we lived) and were organizers of the social scene. Sherrie is a sales engineer for Teology in Austin, and Leslie was the realtor who represented the original owners of the Bar Nothing Ranch. Like us, Sherrie and Leslie owned and rode horses, and the four of us spent many nice weekend afternoons riding along the trails in the area. They swore that had seen the "ghost donkey," a pure white donkey/ghost supposedly seen by some along the Loop on moonless nights (they were absolutely serious in claiming this). Sherrie and Leslie also hosted the annual Super Bowl Loop party, and this Sunday's game has me thinking about them and all the people who will be gathered there. Sherrie and Leslie were also the best damn pair of lesbian cowgirls in the entire state of Texas, IMHO. I gave them my 4-inch refractor telescope as a going-away present last May; I hope they are using it to stargaze under those wonderful dark skies.

Another great couple on the Loop was Wanda and Stuart Schoop, shown below. Wanda is a survivor of ovarian cancer, and was an invaluable resource when I first was diagnosed back in April, 2006. There is no one who can give you the straight, unexpurgated truth about cancer like another cancer patient; Wanda was more informative about the effects of radiation and chemo, and how to cope with them, than any of the medical professionals I dealt with back them. Stuart was extremely helpful because he continued to interact with me as he always had, never slobbering over me with pity or even acknowledging I was sick. And I loved that, because when talking with Stuart I was "Harry" again instead of "Harry the cancer patient." When I spent time with Stuart, I could almost forget that I had a big problem and felt semi-normal again.

Wanda and Stuart often held get-togethers at their home, a place they called "Sloppy Pines." It had a wonderfully eclectic decor, featuring plenty of signs and posters, Japanese pinball machines, an al fresco bar room, etc, Below is a photo of Stuart and me being goofy one night at their place; my "lobster face" is the result of some radiation treatments the previous week:

The get-togethers also produced some of my favorites photos of me and Di, like the one below. I am being goofy, while Di is being cute. I like this one because it shows Di wearing her glasses instead of her contacts, and I know using this photo will really piss her off good:

When you reach the point in life that I'm now at, your friends------past and present-----become very, very precious to you. The memories of the good times you shared with them sustain you on dark days. I have been very lucky to have known people like Sherrie, Leslie, Wanda, Stuart, and, most of all, Di. And there are many more I need to mention on this blog-----I'll get to it. But until then, I say THANK YOU to everyone out there that I have been fortunate enough to have counted among my friends!