We all know the importance of having good friends. I'm not talking about the people you work with and enjoy their company at work, but never do anything together outside of work. I'm talking about the "long term best friend, the get up in the middle of the night and bail your butt out of jail" friendship that most of us have with one of two of our closest friends. Friendship isn't easy, making a good friend is sort of like getting to select a new family member. Friendship also comes with a degree of risk and responsibility. Friends aren't always forever. I have had many friends that come and go, many I have tried to keep in contact with, but over the years the contact just breaks down.
Suffering from a disease like we have where you appear to be alright can be hard on friendships. Friends often want you to go somewhere with them and if you tell them that you are hurting or just too tired to go anywhere, you often get "the look". And one of my favorites is how RA can move from one body part to another. Some have called me on it, "I thought it was your right shoulder that hurt yesterday?" It did but today my hip is hurting. That's ok, who needs doubters as friends anyway. Give me one real friend rather than 10 friends who doubt you or talk about you when you're not around.
I have two of the best friends that anyone could ever ask for. Mike, Randall and I have been riding and racing together for about 33 years now. I met Mike by chance, one crisp spring morning, just outside of Fayetteville. I was going riding and passed him sitting on the side of the road with his bike in the back of his truck. He had just moved here from Kansas and didn't know anyone that rode here. Mike followed me out to the woods and we have been riding together ever since. Randall and I actually met through our ex-wives. We had seen each other around town, usually with a dirt bike in the back of our truck, but our ex wives had a class together at college and introduced us. We hit it off and, like Mike, have been riding together ever since. I just got off of the phone with Randall this afternoon. We have a long dual sport ride planned for Tuesday and I just called and left a message for Mike. No answer yet, Mike has had bike problems so we don't even know if his bike is back together yet. But one thing is for sure, if it is and he can get the day off ... he will be down here Tuesday morning.
Just for the record, I've never seen the inside of a jail cell, but I am assuming that Mike or Randall would be there if I needed them. We've been there for each other for various needs, help and support over the last 30 years.