Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Friend I Took 50 Years to Make . . .

I have had a lot of fun on my trip to Grapevine this weekend, even without the usual warmth of Texas in January. The show on Saturday was great, and I got to go to the first playoff game at the new Cowboys' Stadium on Saturday night. More on those later. There is one story from the weekend that I will carry with me much longer.

Becki Begley and I grew up in the same sandbox (these are our pictures from the Waynesville High School Class of 1976 composite). Our mothers had been friends since they were kids, and we went all the way from Kindergarten through the 12th grade together.

And we hated each other . . .

There is no better word for it -- we hated each other. We were very much alike, and very competitive. Everything we did was a competition -- who could read the most books in the summer reading program at the library, who could go all the way around the room during the math flash cards without losing, who could make the best grades, and on and on and on. We were both outspoken and we never backed down. At high school graduation, there weren't enough chairs in our row and we had to share the same seat. I'm surprised we both didn't stand there until another chair was found.

Then we went our separate ways, which was probably better for both of us. I knew Becki was a teacher and had a couple of kids, but that was about it. We have probably seen each other no more than half a dozen times in the past 34 years, most recently at the visitation when her dad died five years ago.

I saw Becki's sister Amy at my grandma's visitation three months ago, and found out that Becki and her husband Bill had moved to Fort Worth. I didn't think about it again until a couple of weeks ago. I signed up for Facebook (only because I wanted to see a video that a friend had posted of her son playing his trombone) and Becki "friended" me. We traded a couple of e-mails and promised that we would get together the next time I came to Texas. I have made those promises before -- they rarely come to pass.

But this time it did. I e-mailed Becki early last week and made arrangements to meet her and Bill after setup on Friday. They took me to a barbeque joint called Riscky's in Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth (Sundance Square is very cool). I brought along two gifts for them -- a copy of the Dayton Daily News for Bill (he used to be a newspaper reporter and I wanted to show him what he wasn't missing -- the DDN is dying), and a DVD I had burned of an academic quiz show called "As Schools Match Wits" that Becki and I were on when we were seniors. I had taped it on an old reel-to-reel video tape machine, so it was in black and white with a lot of snow in the picture. But it showed what we already knew -- Becki and I competed, even when we were competing against another school at the same time.

We spent the next three hours laughing and catching up -- of course, we spent the first hour explaining to Bill how much we hated each other growing up. But those magnets that drive young people apart (remember, like poles repel) definitely reverse in adulthood. All of those similarities that used to drive us nuts made it that much easier to get along now. I had so much fun. I need to repeat that -- I had so much fun. And I can't wait to come back and visit them again in July.

So please let me introduce you to my good friend Becki. My only regret is it took me 51 years to realize it . . .


  1. I love your Blog! It's just real. i love news on the family, the dog, staff ( who knew you had a racer in there), and i love the stories! And today was a good one. Glad you were able to connect and get past the old competition. may your friendship continue to grow.

  2. This was probably the BEST posting you have made! I too enjoy the blog...
    been a long time local customer, although not as much recently as I had previously, and just loved this touching story!!
    Thank you for sharing it!
    Teresa Kaufhold

  3. Greg--I LOVED reading that post! How great that you two got back in touch! Childhood friends are so special. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I have a girlfriend who wants to know if you are married.

  5. Enjoy the blog. I want to know how you got to go to the game. Did you root for the Cowboys?
    I luved the pixs of the boys celebrating the cookie christmas tradition.