Got To Have Friends

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I love Bette Midler.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned a time or two on this blog that my moniker, DivineMsMel, is actually an ode to the great Ms. M.  One of her many songs that I love singing loudly and proudly, a bit like a gay man with an adoring crowd, is the song “Friends.”

“You got to have friends.  The feeling’s oh so strong.  You got to have friends, to make that day last long.”  It’s best to hear when I sing shout it at the top of my lungs, on a summer evening, while dangling a cigarette from my lips and holding a half drank glass of alcoholic anything.

The song is snappy and peppy and it’s pure fun.  What it also is; is true.  You got to have friends.  Sometimes those friends are coworkers.  Sometimes they are family members.  Sometimes they are partners or ex partners.  Sometimes they are neighbors.  Sometimes they are very new friends and sometimes they are friends known for years and years.  Some friends we see often; whether they are local or circumstances just allow for it.  Other friends, we don’t get to see very often at all; but they still matter a great deal to us.


This past weekend, Sam and I drove over to Saugatuck to meet up with an old friend of mind, Markus.  Or, as I call him, “Quis”.  During our visit, it dawned on Quis and me that we have known each other for 17 years.  Bam!  That realization was a major old fart slap in the face.  Is that really possible?  Especially since I met him as a young adult, and not during childhood schooldom?  Yes, it is possible.  And it’s the case in this circumstance.

What was also amazing is that I last saw Quis, in person, 11 years ago.  He came to my going away party in California before I relocated back to Michigan.  17 years.  11 years.  Both feel like a lifetime ago.  What is most amazing, though, is that with some people, you pick up right where you left off.  Quis, that sneaky bundle of hotness, barely looks like a year or two older.  Once we got our initial squeaks, screams, and hugs out of the way with it, we were chatting just like two ole church ladies at a Sunday BBQ.

He was in Saugatuck with his adorable husband and their group of Chicago gays, from, you guessed it, Chicago.  A fun and friendly group of guys that made Sam and I feel right at home after just a few moments.  With some people, it’s just easy like that…


After we spent the day in Saugatuck, Sam and I headed over to Kalamazoo to visit my dear old friend Stacie and her wife.  And by old, I do mean she is older than I.  Ha Ha!  Actually, I mean, old in the sense that I have also known her for quite some years.  In the first few minutes of our conversation with the gals, Stacie and I realized that we have known each other for 11/12 years.  Another sharp old fart slap in the face.  But also; pretty darn cool!

The last few years have been busy for Sam and me.  They have been busy for Stacie and her partner.  We haven’t had the opportunity to get together like we once did.  But regardless of how long has passed, it’s always great to see my dear friend.  There is something comforting about someone who you have known for years, and who knows you; someone who knew you through this relationship or that relationship, the loss of a job, the loss of family members, vacations and surgeries, pets, new homes, the excitement of life.   Stacie is also the best hugger on earth.  We all say it!


Sam and I relocated to metro Detroit just a few years ago.  In that time, we have met many great people.  Some we know superficially, some we are getting to know more and more.  I feel quite blessed, to say the least, to know so many wonderful people.

When I turn on the news, or read breaking news on Twitter, or read CNN online, I’m sometimes left feeling a bit sad.  What is going on in this country?  What is going on in the world?  Why is it that people often treat each other so poorly?  I see these things and I say these things in my head.  But, just a few moments later, I see the opposite and I wonder; how do we have these struggles in the world when there are so many wonderful people, so many wonderful stories?

Whether it’s one of my many wonderful ex partners turned friend, or old friends from high school that I’ve been blessed to reconnect with, or dear friends at work or in my family; more than anything I see great people around me.  I see people who make me laugh.  I see people I love to make laugh.  I see people who care.  I see people with interesting perspectives.  I see people who want to connect with others.  In the last month when I’ve been off and on sick with many ailments, so many people (friends and family alike) have reached out to me.  They send good thoughts.  They send love.  It matters a great deal.

I don’t think it’s really too important if you have 100 friends or 3 friends; but rather you have quality friends.  People you want to know.  People that want to know you.  More than anything in life, I crave experience and I crave memories.  Nothing better than sharing time and experiences with friends; those become memories that matter and last a lifetime.


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