2017-07-12 / Opinion

Up The Creek Without A Paddle

Best and ‘Bestest’ friends
by Terry Toole

I may be one of the luckiest people ever born. Last Friday, I was looking at a show this 6'2" tall lady was giving on best friends. She said we can only have one “bestest” friend. I don't agree. I am blessed to have a multitude of best friends. You might be one of them. I have several “bestest” friends. One of them just left us Saturday morning for that promised reward. Pat Bush called about 7:30 a.m. from Mt. Pleasant, S.C., "Terry, Spud didn't make it."

Joseph Onlice "Spud" Bush and his wife, Pat, of Colquitt, had gone to Mt. Pleasant for a month to see their children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren. They got to see them, and Spud got sick on the last day before they were to come back home. He has been through a lot and must have used up all nine of his lives, and I was worried that he was using some of mine, which was fine.

Pat gave me a list to call and tell about Spud passing away. That list she gave might be most of the ones that I consider my “bestest” friends, but if I had to choose only one “bestest” friend, I guess Spud would be it. We have known each other since we were babies. We were raised up together. We went to the same church and sang in the choir together. We went to school and graduated together. We courted together. After we were married, we were back door neighbors and reared our children together. We fished, hunted and vacationed together. We even went frog hunting at night together. I shot and gigged the frogs, and he held the #2 wash tub. I've saved his life. He has nearly killed me showing me what some of his wheels would and would not do. He has saved my life. We never asked anything of each other but friendship, but we both knew that if either of us needed what the other had, it was theirs. He always, always reminded me that we were two of the luckiest men in the world to have two beautiful, faithful women who love us in spite of ourselves. I completely agreed.

Spud was almost as not perfect as I am, but he was a good son, a good brother, a good husband, a good father and grandfather, a good business man, a good community leader, a loyal friend, and to me my “bestest” friend. When I would go see about him, or take him to be seen about in his many illnesses, he would introduce me to his doctors, nurses or anyone around as his best friend.

Knowing him like I did, he made everyone his best friend. He did love most people, and most people loved him. He was truly a people person, and he would check on his friends.

On the flip side, he didn't take too much negative about anyone. If we ever had a disagreement, which was rare, it would be something I said or did about someone else. He didn't like to hear bad about anyone, especially one of his friends. We did not come to blows with each other, but a few times we came close. One time I had a carload of fellows in Ma's car. We went to Bainbridge courting, and I was told to have Ma's car back home by 12:00 a.m. I warned them that I would leave Bram's Drive-In at 11:00 p.m. Some were there, some were not, and Spud was not. I left them as I promised. I didn't get whipped, but I got cussed, and they never forgot it. Spud said, "If he tells you something, believe him."

I could write a book about some of our growing up for 80 years together with our mutual friends, our families and a few setbacks and millions of blessings. He would try to fix anything and was successful at most.

Spud would ask me the last few times he went to the hospital, "Am I going to die?"

The last time I saw him in a hospital was when he was knocked off of a motorcycle by a buzzard. I thought that might be it, and his wife said he would be a single man if he got back on that motorcycle. He didn’t.

We were close enough that we knew we would get the truth from each other, and I would always say, "Yes, that is a promise that our Maker made to us all. We are all going to die. We have to do that to be with Him." The last time he asked, I told him, "When you do, tell Tammy I'll see her." I know he did, and she was glad to see her Uncle Bubba. They were close.

I'm not in a hurry, but I sure have something good to look forward to when I get there.

“Bestest” friends are one of life’s treasures that money can’t buy. I’ll miss J.O.

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