The Snoop

I learned about Elie Wiesel more than 25 years ago when he was still living.  I read one of his books. 

Elie Wiesel was a Holocaust survivor. And, many of his writings arose from experiences he witnessed as a Jewish prisoner – as a young teenage boy. His early life is an amazing story on survival of Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps.   

Elie Wiesel died in 2016, but his profound view on life continues, and this past week I happened upon one of his quotes that begins: 

“Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love…”  

And his words gave me pause. 

This photo was taken in a Nixa restaurant during a special weekend get-together the three of us enjoyed several years ago while staying at Jo Etta’s home. That weekend we stayed up way too late, reminisced about school days, discussed future plans, and brilliantly proposed political theories on how to solve world problems. The ‘three musketeers’ as we were sometimes called, are above from left, Debbie (Farris) Williams, myself, and Jo Etta Harnden. My life will always be deeply blessed because of these two wonderful friends.

I recently lost my dear friend, Jo Etta.  We had been best friends since first grade –– 60 years. We first met in Mrs. Christy’s classroom at Ava Elementary.  We experienced elementary, junior high, and high school together, and as adults, our friendship continued. We always stayed in touch.  

Our friendship was one of those enduring ties that remained strong and never lost its luster.  No matter what the occasion, we could always pickup where we left off, as though nothing had changed.  Time stood still.

Jo Etta was a deeply sincere and devoted friend –– a person I could trust with the secrets of my heart as well as my faults, and all the while, she always chose to see the best in me.  To encourage and support.  To share.  

Our friendship will live on as I know her bright spirit and smiling face will always be alive in my heart, for I am blessed with wonderful memories of “Jo-Jo”.  

Since that day when she first walked into my life in first grade, she changed my life for the good, forever. 

“…friendship is never anything but sharing,” Wiesel’s quote continues. 

And that is true. 

Jo Etta and I shared so much, and I will always be deeply blessed by her friendship.     

In E.B. White’s classic children’s book, Charlotte’s Web, Charlotte, a spider who is nearing the end of her life lovingly and wisely tells Wilbur, “You have been my friend.  That in itself is a tremendous thing.” 

Tremendous, indeed.

One of beautiful things about friendship is that true friends never part, as the memories live on, and for that, I am deeply thankful.