The Value of Friendship

I was driving to get lunch tonight and a Beatles song shuffled on my iPod that I hadn’t heard before.  Actually, that’s not true; last year, my best friends Nikki and Brad bought me The Beatles Stereo Box Set.  When I got all that music loaded onto my computer, I listened through the entire Beatles catalog for the first time.  I feel like that needs a little backstory.

Some time ago (not a long time ago; three years maybe?) I was driving and one of the local radio stations was doing a B-Side playlist; playing an uninterrupted B-Side of an old album.  I could tell it was the Beatles, but I didn’t recognize the song.  I picked up my cell and called Nikki.  She is a big time Beatlemaniac and it never occurred to me to call anyone else.  I told her I wanted to know the name of a song because I hadn’t heard it before; she was incredulous to discover it was ‘Golden Slumbers’ from the back of Abbey Road.  “You haven’t heard all of ABBEY ROAD?!  WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?” she immediately chastised me.  A sit-down listen through (on vinyl, as would be expected) was scheduled soon after.  This gift was the cap on that tale.  So, to bring us back to the beginning, a Beatles song came on my iPod I didn’t remember.  It got me to thinking about my friends.

I met Nikki first, back when I was working at Cingular Wireless as a Technical Support representative.  We had a floor walking program at the time where I answered questions from Customer Service representatives.  We hit it off pretty quickly, having similar interests and senses of humor.  She schooled me in music, helped me with my sense of style, introduced me to the world of Harry Potter, encouraged me to be more confident, and has been there to listen to me at my whiniest.  She joined us in Japan during the world trip, too.

Brad was on tour at the time I met Nikki; when I finally got to meet him he had dreadlocks if you can believe it.  I wish I had a picture of that.  Brad played keyboards and backing vocals in a local band called ‘All Too Familiar’ and I followed him as he moved to The Commission and, finally, his own band Baron Von Swagger.  We have spent many nights playing video games and drinking beer long into the wee hours of the night.  Brad has introduced me to multiple bands that I’d never have heard of otherwise and introduced me to The West Wing.  We can sit and have nerdy Star Trek conversations or talk about the nature of God.  Brad is happiest when he is serving others, and takes pride in taking care of his friends.  We’ve road tripped to California, Atlanta, and Chicago together.

They are the kind of people that give before thinking of themselves.  I know I can call at any time, day or night, and if I say I need them they’ll be there.  I sat on the tailgate of my truck outside their apartment as I realized my marriage was over.  When Dad passed, they were there for me too.  We laugh, we joke, we cry, we challenge each other, we turn to each other for comfort.  There is a strong bond of trust that comes with friendships of this caliber.  I don’t know if they know how highly I think of them.  Well, they will now.

Life gets full quickly.  There are times when we get busy and I’ll go weeks without seeing them; Nikki especially with her school/work schedule.  But like Beatles tunes, when they turn back up, there isn’t a missed beat.  There’s a feeling of synchronicity and enjoyment that is just built-in.  I hope everyone has a friend or friends that they are on this wavelength with.  They’ve gotten me through some pretty dark times.

Love you guys.

About rhysfunk

Rhys Martin was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1981. In 2009, he sold everything he owned and left the country, living out of a backpack for ten months. He discovered a passion for photography while traveling throughout Southeast Asia and Europe. After returning home, he looked at his home town and Oklahoma heritage with fresh eyes. When he began to explore his home state, Rhys turned his attention to historic Route 66. As he became familiar with the iconic highway, he began to truly appreciate Oklahoma’s place along the Mother Road. He has traveled all 2,400 miles of Route 66, from Chicago to Los Angeles. He has also driven many miles on rural Oklahoma highways to explore the fading Main Streets of our small towns. Rhys has a desire to find and share the unique qualities of the Sooner State with the rest of the world. Cloudless Lens Photography has been featured in several publications including This Land, Route 66 Magazine, Nimrod Journal, Inbound Asia Magazine, The Oklahoman, and the Tulsa World. In 2018 he published his first book, Lost Restaurants of Tulsa. Rhys loves to connect with people and share his experiences; ask him about enjoyable day trips from Tulsa, locations along Route 66, and good diners or burger joints along the way.
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