During the holidays, I gravitate toward the past. I believe its a natural inclination, after losing someone that was part of most of your holidays. It’s difficult for me during festive times not to feel a slight twinge of sadness. But I don’t want to focus on that sadness today, I want to tell you a story about friendship.

In writing this, I am overcome by feelings of happiness, sadness and trying to reach my arms to retrieve some of the past. My Mom and Dad, as well as my sister and I, are fortunate because we have witnessed true friendship. I believe adversity not only builds character (pardon the cliche), but also reveal the true character of your friendships. The ease of friendships and relationships don’t come into question during birthdays, good times, and celebrations. The strength and weakness of a friendship is revealed during the days in between, sometimes at inopportune times, like at three o’clock in the morning.

I would like to share with you two people who have been a presence in my life, but even a larger presence in the life of my Mom and my Dad. For their privacy, I will call them the C’s. They are people like you and me, but possess a grace that comes without conditions. The C’s transported my father to the hospital when my sister and I couldn’t make it. Mr. C. cut my parent’s lawn when my father’s limbs couldn’t even move to sit down. I’ve not revealed this to many people, but a few months before my father passed, my childhood home almost burned down. The C’s were there to assist again, alerting my parents to get out, and pleading with the firefighters to do all that they could to save my parent’s house. “They don’t need this, right now. Really. Please save their house.”

In the not so pensive times, Mr. C and my father would have long conversations about nothing in particular. After he passed, Mr. C. showed me a piece of paper that my father had written a particular Indian saying and he revealed he kept it to remind him of better times. The C’s invited my parents over to play pool, showing them the intricacies of the game. There are other countless things that they have done, so many that it ovewhelms me. I know my father loved them like his own family, calling Mr. C the brother he never had.

I hope in my lifetime I witness more of this kind of friendship. As I grow older, I am not interested in politically correct friendships; I strive for genuine connections with people who love me and want to be part of it all: the good, the bad and all of the unscripted moments. I don’t want friends that can’t tell me how they feel and hide behind smiles and half truths. I want friends that feel with me.

I raise my glass to the C’s. For their kindness. For their friendship. For their grace. For teaching me what it means to be a true friend.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Hope true friendship graces your life.

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Have you witnessed true friendship? How do you define a true and good friend? Are you a good friend?

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