Your Valuable Friends

I heard a story about an older woman who stood in line at the Post Office. She struck up a conversation with a young man next to her. He noticed that she had no packages to mail, and asked why she was standing in line. She said that she just needed a few stamps.

"Ma'am, you must be tired standing here. Did you know there's a stamp machine over there in the corner?" He pointed to the machine built into the wall.

"Why yes, thank you," the lady replied, "but I'll just wait here a little while longer. I'm getting close to the window."

The customer became insistent.

"But it would be so much easier for you to avoid this long line and buy your stamps from the machine."

The woman patted him on the arm and answered, "Oh, I know. But that old machine would never ask me how my grandchildren are doing."

She had a need greater than the need for postage stamps -- a need to feel connected to other people. And it was a need that could not be met by a stamp machine.

When Harry Truman was thrust into the U.S. presidency at the death of Franklin Roosevelt, a colleague and friend -- Congressman Sam Rayburn of Bonham, Texas -- gave Truman some fatherly advice.

Rayburn said, "Harry, from here on out, you're going to have lots of people around you. They'll try to put a wall around you and cut you off from any ideas but theirs. They'll tell you what a great man you are, Harry. But you and I both know you ain't." Friends can say those things to each other.

Later, when Sam Rayburn discovered that he was seriously ill, he told his friends in Congress that he was going home to Bonham for medical tests. "But there are excellent doctors and medical facilities in Washington D.C." some of them argued. "Why would you want to go to Bonham?"

"Because," the congressman replied, "Bonham is a place where people know it when you're sick, and where they care when you die."

Rayburn had a need greater than good medical assistance. He needed friends. Someone to ask how his grandchildren were doing. Someone to sit by him and stop by his home. Someone to care. A few close friends meant more than the best medical facilities in the world.

Who is such a friend to you? That person is more valuable than your greatest possession.

Have you said ... thanks?

~ Steve Goodier ~

[ by: Steve Goodier Copyright © 2007 ( -- {used with permission} ]

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