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Old Cowbelle: Loss of a Friend

Life is just a series of ups and downs, gains and losses, joys and sorrows, hills and valleys.

The loss of a good friend is on the path of down, sorrow, loss and a deep valley. A few weeks ago, we lost our friend Greg. Besides being Joyce's son, cousin to Sandy, Sonia, Bruce and Beth and others, my nephew, he was also a good friend.

His calls would brighten the day. I think he has read everything in the world. He was intelligent, funny, philosophical, sometimes way over my head. When he would get on that subject, he would say, "Oh, oh, now I can see your eyes beginning to glaze over." (And they were).

But we also discussed down-to-earth subjects like politics, other religions, faith, Jesus, salvation, everything. We always said we were two of a kind, odd, and that's why we got on so well together.

He had a lot of friends besides our children. He and Soni are almost the same age, so it doesn't surprise me that they had much to talk about, but it always amazed me that Greg, young, intelligent, educated, would take the time to spend time on the telephone with such an old, old lady. We will all sadly miss him.

I wish we had a photo collage of all the beautiful and unique furniture Greg has created during his wood working years: memorial plaques, altar rails, baptismal fonts, pulpits, hutches, dining room sets, bedroom sets, circular staircases, chandeliers, cabinets of all kinds. These "one of a kind" sturdy, beautiful treasures will live on and on, and Greg will never be forgotten.

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One day while sorting through stuff, I decided to open the box that contains my "long ago" miniature shoe collection. Those little treasures are not valuable, but I enjoyed them when I was young.

It was another trip down memory lane. I must have been much more organized back then than I am today. I had taped numbers on the soles of the little shoes, and recorded in a little notebook where they came from and who had given them to me.

I got a chuckle when I picked up a little bronze colored cowboy boot, complete with spurs. I remembered that my brother Harvey had wanted me to go on a sort of double date with his then-girlfriend and a friend of his. I didn't want to, even when he begged. Then he said he would buy me a shoe for my collection, so I agreed. And we had gone to Crystal Cave, and he found the boot in the gift shop there.

Another little Dutch shoe had traveled a long way before it came to me. When my brother Bob's ship, The USS Moose, docked in Newport News, Va., and he was given his discharge from the Navy, he bought a Harley Davidson motorcycle. He rode that bike all the way home to Wisconsin, and carried that little shoe in his duffle bag.

A little fancy, gold colored slipper that was given to me by my Godmother must have broken at one time, and I had filled it with wax to hold the pieces together. How clever was that? My Mom must have thought of that way to fix it.

Many of them remind me of the giver: aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, most of whom have been gone a long time. They are all pretty shop worn and probably should have been thrown away years ago. But me, being such a "keeper of things," saved them, thinking that maybe one day some of the grandkids might get a kick out of looking at them.

Funny, how I can remember some of those things from 70-plus years ago, and can't remember things from yesterday. Uff-Da!

But I do remember that today, as I am writing this column, May 17 is our 65th wedding anniversary.

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