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Into the Fire

January 17, 2011

We had some friends over a couple of weeks ago. This is no surprise because every time we turn around, friends are coming over. Cut to refrain: My friends are like that — they are wonderful and I do not deserve them.

The friends who came over, J and R, are the first people I called for comfort when I found out I had cancer. J came right over and cleaned my house and made me some food and gave me the following excellent advice:

“People, your friends, and you have a lot of friends, are going to mail you books about cancer. It makes them feel better, because they want to do something. Send a thank you email but don’t even let the books into the house. Take them right around to the trash can and throw them away. Just look at each book and know that your friends love you, and are thinking about you, but don’t read them and don’t let your family read them. By the time they go to press, technology has changed and they are out of date. Plus there is a lot of bad information out there.” She was right on all counts.

“You will get very tired of lasagna,” said my friend J, who had brought a lasagna, saying “But mine is the best.” I did get tired of lasagna, but a couple of them stand out as extraordinary.

“Always love on your children,” she told me. “No matter how sick you feel.”

“You are doing G.R.E.A.T. I mean, look at you. You’re not curled up in the corner with a vodka bottle.” At the time, I was just surprised, but J has been through cancer, and now I know how right she was.

Here is the kicker, though. She called me up early the next day. The conversation went like this:

J: “Today is the day.”

Me: ?

J: “It’s the day.”

Me: ?

J: “Today is the day. It’s the day you take charge of your own cancer.”

That was the day I called my awesome friend Lacey who is a radiologist specializing in breast cancer, and asked her what to do, and she helped me figure out how to make an appointment at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston which started the ball rolling in the process that left me not dead.

She’s a good friend.

I let two years go by without seeing her. Two years.

Granted, she has been getting a business off the ground, her house was struck by lightening and burned up so she had to oversee the remodel, and I’ve had surgery three or four times.

Still.

Two years without seeing one of my best friends.

That’s pretty horrible,  no matter how you look at it. That kind of nonsense is the reason I say my friends are wonderful and I do not deserve them.

They came over between Christmas and New Year’s. In the course of my making dinner, the subject of cast iron skillets came up. It turns out that my friend did not own a cast iron skillet.

Plenty of people don’t have cast iron skillets, but my friend is a great cook.

It turns out that she had been discouraged by the seasoning process. J is a get-it-done-now person, and the bumpiness of new cast iron was unacceptable to her. What she wanted was an old, seasoned, smooth cast iron skillet with clear provenance, because she fussy is like me and therefore put off by the idea of using someone else’s skillet.

I washed mine out and gave it to her.

Chris said to  our friends, “I hope you know much love goes into that gift.”

I think she knows how much love went into that gift.





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2 Comments
  1. WOW! I’ve just finished reading December and up to January 17th. Marvelous insights and commentary. I don’t deserve to have you as a good friend, EAHR. Darn, what IS your maiden name and initial? ‘Mary and Maury’ is all that comes to mind.

    Love…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
    js

  2. Mary Knapp permalink

    YOU GAVE AWAY THAT WONDERFUL FRY PAN!!!???

    Oh, but nobody deserves it more than she does. I love her.

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