Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sharon Randall Be Sure to Treasure the Sort of Friends Who'll Last Forever

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sharon Randall Be Sure to Treasure the Sort of Friends Who'll Last Forever

Article excerpt

We were young then, with our whole lives before us, starry-eyed blind to all that lay ahead.

I went running up the steps of the church - late, yes, to my own wedding - when I spotted them out of the corner of my eye hurrying along beside me. I'd never seen them before but knew them well. Brushing back a makeshift veil that kept flopping in my face, I said, "You must be Ginnie and Gary. I'm so glad to finally meet you!"

They were college friends of the man I was about to marry. I'd heard enough about them to know, or at least hope, they'd soon be my friends, too.

They were in a rush to get inside for the service. I told them not to worry, it probably wouldn't start without me.

That was the first of countless big laughs we have shared.

I'm not smart about much, but I'm a genius at spotting friends, even ones I've never met. There are things you know with your heart more than with your head. That's how I knew them.

In the months to follow, I grew to like them so well that I told my husband, if ever we should part, I wanted custody of Ginnie and Gary. He didn't laugh. Even then, I suspect he saw it as a prophecy.

We lived three hours apart but took turns making the drive several times a year for a weekend at their place or ours.

Personally, I preferred theirs. Actually, we all did. It was cleaner. The food was better, and it was always more fun.

Gradually, we added children, their two and our three.

Occasionally, we'd go camping together in the rain or take a picnic to the beach in the fog or spend a few days freezing in a cabin in the snow. Funny, isn't it? Bad times feel better with good company.

We watched our children grow up; weathered changes, big and small; shared our hopes and fears and, most of all, our lives.

In the four years my husband battled cancer, Ginnie and Gary kept in touch, walking that fine line of friendship, praying and cheering us on, always knowing somehow if we needed to talk or just to be left alone. …

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