1. A person whom one knows, likes and trusts.
2. A person whom one knows; an acquaintance.
3. A person with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause; a comrade.
I have been blessed with a few great friends in my time. I've talked of Ed, my Uncle by marriage but a friend by choice. And Mike Johnson, who died over 20 years ago. Sometimes they fade away and, sadly, sometimes they die. You don't rank friends, really. I know who my "besties" are: the ones you call when you need help. Yeah, you guys who read this daily are my besties. You know who you are.
Taken by Tim a couple days before the accident.
I almost lost one recently. Remember the NOLA trip that was scheduled for this month? I had to bail due to budgetary constraints. Too many expenses on the house while I was up there in August. Tim, Jeff and I were originally going to breeze into New Orleans but we couldn't get it put together.
Tim already had the time off so he changed his itinerary to include Tennessee, the Smokies and the Dragon. If you don't know what the Dragon is, well, it's like what Mecca is to a Muslim, or the Ganges to the Hindu.
The Dragon is about 11 miles of about 318 curves that is the #1 spot for a biker to go. In Deal's Gap, it is a place to test your cycling abilities and, if successful, you join a select number of riders to slay it.
But sometimes knights get hurt in their battles. Running in Scottville, Tennessee on his return leg of the trip, he lost control of his bike when an old woman stopped in the street for some unknown reason. Tennessee is a helmet state so Tim had one on, and had a leather jacket that also helped him in the crash, but 5 ribs were broken, and after 2 days in the hospital, he was heading home in a car.
Old Blue, Tim's bike, was totaled. They make new bikes everyday, but dammit, we bikers love our rides and I'm sure Tim's ribs don't hurt half as much as losing Blue. We also consider ourselves masters of riding our machines. Me? I've never been in an accident; never dropped a bike while riding. Never run into a critter and never slid in the rain. Tim's pride is hurt. The ribs will heal but the only way to heal the pride is to get back on and ride.
Tim is a friend, which he has exhibited on several occasions, most recently over a situation we had with my house in Henderson. I won't go into it here, but he and Carrie made some selfless sacrifices to right a wrong, not of their making. Tim is also a gentleman. He has a thirst for life, for knowledge, and will move mountains to preserve friendships. If I could ever show even half the friendship he has shown toward me I would be satisfied. I need my friends, I cherish them. Old introverted guys like me need them all because we don't like having to go out and start over. I'm way too old and way too shy to go out and work at something I'm not very good at to start with. I'm in maintenance mode with my friends, not accumulation. I'm damn glad I didn't lose one last week.