Monday, April 21, 2008


I've gotten a lot of calls and emails on my column in the Mountain Eagle on Sunday. It's a hybrid of an entry I made on the blog last year but I think I'll post it here for my friends that don't live around here.

Good friends are hard to find
Published April 20, 2008 11:13 PM CDT

I read a story a few years ago in the AARP newsletter about a man in New Orleans in the days following Katrina. Sixty-nine year old Thomas Reed lived alone with his small dachshund Weezie. They weathered the vicious storm and when the levee broke, they moved from floor to floor upwards until they settled in the attic and on the roof where they stayed for five days surviving off Vienna sausages and bags of snack food.

According to the AARP Bulletin, his stay could have been much shorter as a rescue team came to take him to safety on the second day but they refused to take his dog, and Mr. Reed would not leave Weezie behind. "This little dog is my family;" he pleaded "there is no way I could leave her."

When I read these words, I got a lump in my throat that made breathing difficult.

Sadly, this is not an isolated incident and there were many who were injured, and had to leave their beloved pets to fend for themselves. Many, many of these pets did not make it out alive.

I could not help but think - what if this had happened to Jilda and me. I can promise you this - if we were stuck on a roof with rising water and rescuers said, "OK lady, you can bring the dogs or your husband" – she would give me a peck on the cheek and say "good luck honey. I'll send the boat back for you."

Both Jilda and I have been blessed with many friends – some animal, some people and we have lost our share of both. It’s not easy losing either.

This week, we lost one of our oldest and dearest friends. Joel Robinson, as many of you well know, was a local attorney in Jasper. We have known Joel and his family for many years. They started coming to our Christmas parties in the mid 1980s. He was a storyteller extraordinaire and a delightful guest.

He reminded me of Atticus Finch, the attorney in the book and movie “To Kill a Mockingbird.” He was thoughtful, engaging and charming. He was quick to praise and slow to judge. Even when his health began to fail, his face would always light up whenever he saw us. I was saddened beyond words when I received the call that he had died.

Good friends are the ones you can turn to when nothing seems to be working in your life; who will lend an ear and listen without judgment.

After hearing they sometimes may offer meaningful advice, call in reinforcements to help solve your problem, or give you a swift kick in the pants. Many times good friends are simply there for you and knowing that lightens your load.

I am glad that Mr. Reed stayed by his friend Weezie, and that their story had a happy ending. The AARP article said that as a result of stories like these, the federal government changed its policy on the handling of pets during emergency situations. I believe this is a good thing because the value of a true friend, whether they are animal or human, is beyond measure.

1 comment:

  1. Grandma and I can't think of a situation in which we would leave our Corgi, Ginger. She is family. I'm happy to hear that our elected officials have learned that, finally.


Please consider sharing

Email Signup Form

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required