Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

March 16, 2014

03/16/2014 — Lee Ward: How to recognize a true friend

Lee Ward
CNHI News Service

ASHLAND — I’ve found a new way to know someone is your friend.

I fell recently and had several bad bruises. I mean bad, the kind that are so colorful and large they would look like an elaborate tattoo if they were shaped in a more interesting way than a circle. Or an oval.

I had bruises in places we can’t discuss in polite company. Fortunately for me, I could talk about those bruises with my friends because most of them  aren’t polite.

The fall was scary and humorous. I had gone to my laundry room in the basement to rinse out a new shirt and hang it on the clothesline. There was dirt on the floor which had turned to mud because the water from my newly washed shirt mixed with it. At least that’s what I think happened. I was wearing slick-bottomed shoes and — BAM! — I slipped, falling chest first into a heavy, plastic bucket.

The floor around me was so slick I had to crawl a foot or two so I could get the traction I needed to get up. At first, I was mostly angry that I had to rewash my new shirt. The next most infuriating point was the clothing I was wearing: I had just had a shower and put clean clothes on and now, my clothes were filthy.

I took care of all those needs and discovered I already had terrible bruises on my chest. Oh well, what are you going to do? Once you’re bruised, you’re bruised. Who’s going to see that, anyway?

Later, my arm hurt. I looked and there was the real beaut — a purple spot whose borders you could easily fit four quarters inside.

The next morning, I noticed a smudge on my chin. But wait, it wasn’t a smudge. It was another bruise.

The next day, it wasn’t bruises I noticed but stiffness in my bones. All my bones, if I’m not mistaken.

Meanwhile, I told my story and showed my bruises to friends, first bragging I’d been in a bar fight but eventually revealing what actually happened. One friend gave me a bag of comfrey, which is used to make poultices for such injuries. She is a true friend who cares about my feelings and my comfort.

Another friend said to me, “Tell me the truth. Did your new boyfriend do this to you?” He was smiling, so I knew he was kidding, even though a violent boyfriend is no laughing matter.

I laughed and said, “Of course not!”

Then, that friend said, “I was just wondering if we needed to go to your house and dig a hole and bury a body.”

We all laughed at that one. I was thinking, “Now that’s a friend, somebody who would kill  a guy who would hurt me.”

Then it dawned on me. My friend didn’t say he’d kill for me. He assumed I’d already killed him and that I might need help getting rid of that dead weight. Not only did he feel certain I took care of the problem in a most unsavory way, he was willing to help me with the coverup.

Now that’s a real friend.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.