WILDER: Friends

By Dwayne Wilder
Special to the Herald Democrat

I have been thinking a lot about friends recently.

In less than a year, I will be celebrating the 50th year with my best friend, Mike McCord. We met in the halls of Piner Middle School in the fall of 1972. I don’t remember where or exactly when, but we have been fast friends ever since. You just never know which friendships are going to last or which acquaintances are going to stick. With Mike, we just stuck…

Unless there is some tragedy or horrible betrayal, most people don’t delve into what makes a friend; why people are friends or even how it happens. We just accept certain people into our lives and enjoy their company. We continue in Life with them in it; most of the time, there is no reason to spend time on ‘why.’ You and he/she are just ‘friends.’

That’s the way it is with Mike. We just clicked back with our 12 year old selves; and no one’s been the same since. Even into adulthood, we’ve kept the friendship active and alive. There will be months and even years go by without us talking, but that doesn’t matter. We know who we are to each other. We are friends.

I think about what makes a friend. The one thing that stands out to me after all these years of experience in the friend business is that another simply accepts you as you are. There are no demands to change or to do this or that; there are no calls to act differently or ultimatums to change your nature or it’s ‘bye-bye.’ Everything comes from this simplest of concepts—we are who we are with our friends; and everyone knows it.

Mike is eclectic; and so am I. Mike is unconventional; and so am I. Mike is unusual; and so am I. We complement each other with our irregularities. We have some of the same tendencies, but we have other ones as well. We both love education; and both have that love of learning. He tends toward history; and I love literature/writing. We played ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ before it was cool; we played tennis back when our knees were young.

Mike has a white beard now, but I remember him as a clean-shaven teacher of young people. He’s been Santa Claus at Christmastime, but I remember him at Chelsa Street Pub in Lubbock. He’s the father of three great kids, but I remember him when he was just a kid himself. He’ll turn 62 years old this fall; and for a few months, he’ll be older than me, but I remember when we were like twins during school days.

Mike has had medical issues over the years, but has always had a great attitude. I admire who he is for what he’s come through. As with most of us, he will continue with those issues as the years go by. I plan to be there with him and for him because I know he would do the same for me. Remember, we stuck…

I think back on all the girl friends, weird situations and good times; and all I know is that Mike was in the middle of it all. He was (and still is, in some ways) my rock. The one person who I know will be there if for no other reason than to be there. I guess that’s what friends are; that’s what they sign up for with us as we travel this well-worn road together.

There are people I’ve known longer and even called friend at one point. I haven’t seen most of them for decades, but would give them a smile and a greeting as an old friend. There is even a first-grade friend from another city that I’d love to see again. I haven’t seen him since 1968 when I moved to Sherman. He is my oldest living memory of a ‘friend.’ There are ones who have died way too young; there are ones who have moved on to different friends; and there are ones who I left. Still others come and go…

Dwayne Wilder

But none are like Mike…

Dwayne Wilder is a Sherman native who currently lives in Denison. Wilder’s Whole World is his commentary about life in Texoma and the world. Wilder can be reached at cmandad17@gmail.com. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.