• Last modified 685 days ago (Sept. 8, 2022)


Another Day in the Country

My buddy Slacey

© Another Day in the Country

Sam was in kindergarten. It was his first formal year of school. He was a sweet little boy who had trouble pronouncing the letter “T.” New to the area, he wondered whether he’d find a friend in this strange classroom of kids his age. 

Within a week or two, he’d found a kindred spirit. He came home one day and announced to his mother that he’d had so much fun that day at school.

“Me and my buddy Slacey . . .” he began, telling a tale of their exploits at recess.

From then on, his mom was regaled daily with adventures, always breathlessly beginning with, “Me and my buddy Slacey, we….”

Six weeks or so into the school year, there was a parent/teacher meeting, and Sam’s mother told the teacher about how exuberant Sam was about his new friend, Slacey.

The teacher smiled and said, “Oh, you mean Stacy. Yes, they are quite the pair.”

Sam’s grown up long ago and has kids of his own. They also are grown. It’s been a long time since he was in kindergarten with his buddy Slacey, but that phrase, “my buddy Slacey” is still with me and an important part of my vocabulary.

When my sister and I are going on an excursion to Salina, she’ll sometimes say, “It’s nice to be doing something with my buddy Slacey!”

Being a buddy Slacey is a grand compliment. We might be driving over to Abilene to exercise, and I’ll say, “So, how’s my buddy Slacey this morning.”

Being your buddy Slacey conveys having a deep friendship, a companion, and someone to hang out with even when nothing special is happening. Having a buddy Slacey is important.

My oldest, long-term friends are from my high school years. I always was on the shy side so was never one of those people who traveled in a pack. Usually, I had only two or three good friends and then a wider circle of acquaintances. My three good friends in high school were Jan, Pill, and Ostie.

Ostie, whose real name was Florence, got married right out of high school and several years later was killed in a tragic car accident.

Jan and Pill (whose real name was Phyllis) were my friends through college and on into our adult years. We never lost touch.

My friend Jan (whom I named my daughter, Jana, after) was my best friend for life. Shortly after I moved back to Ramona, she also was killed in a car accident involving a drunken driver.

My friend, Pill, lives in Nebraska, and I’ll be visiting her next month.

Friends are precious at any age, but as we get older, nature takes its toll, and it’s important to keep adding younger friends to your list of very important people.

Since moving to Ramona, I met a couple of new friends who we refer to as our “artist friends” from Lindsborg.

I wish we lived in the same town. I wish they could just walk by my house on a stroll and stop in at random. I miss drop-ins and impromptu meals shared with friends who I work with or maybe live close by. But as life changes, circumstances change.

These friends of mine aren’t buddy Slaceys who I see every day. We have to plan our get-togethers, writing a date in the calendar. It’s a pain, but it’s the way things are when some of us have careers and some of us don’t. When I get together with these friends, it isn’t happenstance; it’s an event.

I still was in bed this morning when I heard a vibration from my phone on the bedside table. I reached over and picked it up and saw a text from my friend, DeAnne.

She’s a friend from the Abilene area. We met at an exercise gym. We started having coffee every Tuesday and Thursday, getting to know each other’s lives in the wider world. 

This habit continued for several years, and then circumstances in her life changed, and she could no longer come to exercise.

We still try to keep in touch, mostly by phone these days, but it’s not the same as that regular weekly cycle of contact.

“Thinking of you while I do my devotions this morning!” she texted, “It was on having a good friend and you came to mind!”

How sweet! What a way to start my day.

In a way, writing this column is like having a friend that you get together with once a week.

As I write, I imagine you sitting there, reading the paper and smiling.

I hope you have a buddy Slacey in your life. Tell him or her how much you value the friendship, on another day in the country.

Last modified Sept. 8, 2022