Ralph Waldo Emerson said it well when he suggested that a friend is a masterpiece of nature. “A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.” Throughout our lifetime, we form all kinds of friendships; some intimate, some close and lifelong, some distant,and some familial. Others become short term acquaintance-ships or even fractured friendships. Yet, each connection holds a memory bank of events, images, conversations and reminiscences that sometimes have a profound impact on our lives. Our friendships are to be valued and never taken lightly … but we sometimes do. Are there friends you know who are always available and helpful? Do we stop to honor them with a special treat, card or maybe a simple thank you? Do we as the saying goes, always rise to the occasion to “watch their back” or defend them?
We are all somewhat guilty of assuming that our most treasured friends know we cherish them. Yes, we all love our friends and would help them when necessary, but we shouldn’t always wait for an occasion to reciprocate, we can honor them now. My story below took me back to a moment when I had to stand up for a great friend who was being insulted by; you got it, another … friend!
Back in my high school days in England, I had a group of friends who were the life and soul of every party. They loved great music, slick cars, fine wining and dining and stayed on the cutting edge of the music world. We had many fabulous outings together and whenever I flash back to those years, memories of my dear friend, Ahmed, come front and center.
Ahmed was a very smart and sensitive soul. He was great at electronics, read widely, and was planning to be an engineering student in college. He drove an imported flashy car, but was the kindest and most humble person. He had exquisite taste and was quite astute at finding those hidden specialty boutiques in Knightsbridge, on Bond St and even on Kings Rd. Whenever he found a shop, he would tell me and we’d all go shopping for clothes, shoes and other trinkets. Way before his shoes became popular in the USA, Ahmed knew of Manolo Blahnik, and took me shoe shopping; this was years and years before the TV show – Sex in The City – made Manolos a household name in the US… By the way, back then, we called them Blahniks in England… always by the last name.
“Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.” Albert Schweitzer
I had another friend, Bea, who, for whatever reason, didn’t like Ahmed. Whenever she was around our group of friends, she would deliberately find a way to hurl an insult at him or make some smart ass and quite unnecessary remark. We would caution her and he would slough it off and say she needed to figure it out for herself. When I would ask her privately why she was hostile to Ahmed, she couldn’t give me a clear and straightforward answer. While Bea had a terrific sense of humor and could be tons of fun, having fits of anger was also part of her repertoire. She would react to the smallest thing and go ballistic … it got quite tedious after some time.
One fateful day, we gathered at my home for brunch and everyone agreed to bring something to the gathering. We had a lovely spread; scones, tea cakes, scrambled eggs, crumble, tarts, fruits and veggies and lots of beverage choices. We were having a good old time, when out of the blue, Bea decided to make a rude remark to Ahmed. I immediately cautioned her that, as a guest in my home, I expected her to refrain from her usual public display of rudeness towards Ahmed, as I wanted all my guests to have a good time. She did … but only for a short while…