The five great friends of my life

Published 4:48 pm Tuesday, April 11, 2017

There are a lot of opportunities that a writer has to cover the events of the day. The subject could be about politics, though we have heard a good bit about that subject lately.   It could be about the economy, interest rates or jobs.   We are all concerned about our nation’s security, whether it be concerning China and Russia, or their surrogates North Korea and Syria.

However, I will have only one opportunity in my life to write about someone very close to me that has lived 31,025 days and is still going strong.  A person that has lived that long has the opportunity to celebrate their 85th birthday.   That would be my mother, Jobie Ponder.

What do you give someone that has everything and needs nothing?   We probably all know the answer to that question.   You give them your time.   This past Friday, April 7th, my Mom was surprised by walking into a restaurant and seeing her three children and their spouses waiting for her for lunch.

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The look on her face was priceless.   I am old enough to appreciate the unexpected gift of my own children and grandchildren’s time.  There is no other gift more precious and the older you get the more valuable it is. 

Jobie, as my mother is widely known to her friends, is not one to take advancing age lightly.  She encourages and challenges her wonderful friends at her home at Huntcliff Summit in Atlanta to live life to its fullest.   It is an independent living facility and she thrives on the word “independent”. 

She still drives in Atlanta and when so inclined, she drives herself the 200 miles south to Donalsonville to visit her two sons.  She often continues on to her former home at Panama City Beach to visit those friends with whom she remains so close. 

My sister, whom my family affectionately calls “Sister”, lives just 3 miles from Mom.  She is her caregiver, her friend, her chauffeur, her nurse, and her twice a week lunch partner.  No matter how great a son may be, there is no replacing a devoted daughter. 

My Mother once told me that you are lucky if you have five great friends in your life.   If you know who they are, she said, you should tell them.    I have tried to follow that advice.  I am especially thankful to have told several of my childhood friends that have passed away in the past two years just what they meant to me. 

But on the occasion of the 85th birthday of my mother, Josephine Beall Ponder, I am proud to say to her and to the world that she has not only been a wonderful mother, she has been a great friend.  Decades ago she told me if you know one of your five great friends, you should tell them.   

Always being the obedient son, I want to wish a Happy Birthday to my Mother on her 85th Birthday.  More importantly, I want to thank her for being one of my five great friends.