Friendship building worth the effort

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art … it has no survival value; rather is one of those things that give value to survival.

&8212; C. S. Lewis

Shelby County, specifically, Columbiana recently played host to a lively delegation from Massillon, Ohio. The group traveled south to celebrate Memorial Day with longtime friends Ann and Bob Sauers (formerly of Massillon); the Sauers now call Columbiana home.

Holiday festivities included strings of colorful stories, innumerable laughs, more than a few games of Tonto Yoder (a variation of the game holey board patented by one of the group&8217;s members), wonderful meals and gracious hospitality.

But the group did not make the trip for these temptations alone.

What motivation could possibly lead a person, much less a group, to travel 1,460 miles roundtrip through four states in a whirlwind tour lasting less than a week? Certainly, it would have to be love or friendship. In this case, it most certainly was both.

It is never easy to maintain a friendship even across town, harder still many miles away. Old axioms aside, more often than not, one gets what they give.

In this circumstance, the Sauers are blessed with true friendship because, I expect, that is exactly what they have given.

These friends have spent the better part of their lives as companions. Some of the friendships began in grammar school as classmates in third grade decades ago. Others began in the early seventies with new neighbors meeting for the first time. Still others were formed more recently through the myriad of ways new friendships begin; no matter, each friendship shares the richness and warmth that only &8220;old&8221; friendships can provide. This special group of caring friends has weathered the storms of one another&8217;s lives together, mourned the passing of loved ones together, celebrated the births of children and then grandchildren together, praised one another&8217;s accomplishments and lent a hand or shoulder in times of strife.

If you have been blessed by this special brand of friendship you know what joy it brings to life. You know how long it takes and how much effort is required to build an &8220;old&8221; friendship. And you know it is worth the price.