One last thought

By Erica Fatland

It’s amazing how friends are made and kept for eons and eons.

I am a little strange when it comes to friendships. I don’t have many close friends, but I do have a lot of the so-called drinking buddies and acquaintances to go out with on a Friday night.

My close friends are gems. They are the handful of people who I can depend on when I have a crisis. They laugh at my stupid jokes. They are my shoulders to cry on. They are patient and compassionate. I listen to them, and they do so in return, which is a key aspect in any relationship.

But the majority of my closest amigas and amigos don’t live near me or have succumbed to the same schedule as mine & a busy one. They just can’t see my every weekend or call every day. But we all still remain friends and try to catch up when life takes a breather. We don’t have to talk on the phone every day or send e-cards 10 times a day in order to keep that friendship. It’s just there and we all know it.

I found out something quite startling over the weekend about a close friend of mine. I came home and I was glossing over my hometown’s lovely paper (hey, I’ve got to keep up on the town gossip and letters to the editor about the safety of crosswalks somehow) and I came across the obituary section.

Then my eyes landed on an obit for Virginia (Ginny) Gossett-Anderson.


Now, any regular person would look at that say, oh, that’s too bad, and move on to more exciting things, like how the local bowling league is looking in their new powder blue jerseys.

Mrs. Gossett was one of my best friends, but I think I was the only one who knew that.

Now many of you may be thinking, “How can that happen? How did she not know that one of her friends died?”

It’s not an easy question to answer.

This woman, who, by the way, was 69 when she died, was a neighbor of my grandmother’s. She was a good friend of my grandfather’s and would often come over and hang out with him, have a couple beers, talk about old times, stuff like that.

How I came to know her myself was kind of by chance. She had a couple of grandchildren, but they were closer to the age of my younger brothers, so I ended up spending hours and hours with Mrs. Gossett, who ended up being something like a second-grandmother to me.

She was amazing. I thought she was about the most intelligent and worldly person I had ever met. Not so much because she was scholarly, but because of all she just knew. Sure, it was in my adolescence when I hung out with her the most, but to this day, I still stand in awe of her accomplishments and skills.

By about 1990, she had been on vacation to almost every single state in the U.S., except for Alaska, but what was she missing anyway, right? Not only had she done that but she had gotten a little artifact from every place. For a 12-year-old, how great was that?

She taught me how to make applesauce and bread … from scratch. She drank Old Style. She helped teach me to be an independent woman (no Destiny’s Child references please). She lived alone and loved it. My first near-death experience was accomplished at her house after I slipped on her oak tree branch and bit the dirt.

Some of my favorite times growing up were when I spent weekends at my grandmother’s white house in that small square mile of a subdivision. I lived on a farm my whole life, so my only real contact with the outside world was when I visited there or when my parents got off the farm, which wasn’t too often. After awhile, holding a conversation with your dog gets old, and the sandbox no longer looks appealing.

My point here is this: People should always remember their friends, wherever they may be.

I cried when Mrs. Gossett remarried and moved to a different house in Missouri. I hadn’t seen her since I was about 15. I always meant to call her or write, I even saw her grandson a year ago and asked for him to say hi to her for me. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. I probably will never know.

Good friends are like small gems, both beautiful and priceless. It’s cheesy, but true.

I always meant to call her, but as many of us know, sometimes life in general gets in the way.

I was ordering graduation announcements last week. She was near the top of my list.

Don’t forget about those close to you, ever & you never know when something may happen.

Mrs. Gossett died unexpectedly on a fishing trip last week. If she only knew how unexpected her death was.