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Friendship

Everett walked into work at 3:00 PM. He was the relief for

Mike. He presented Mike with a spicy sausage from a convenience

store.

“Well, thanks, Everett,” Mike said.

“You know, as I stood behind this woman, waiting to make my

purchase, I spotted a penny on the floor. It is not beneath me to

stoop and pick up a penny, he said assertively.

“We’re on the same page, Everett,” Mike said with a smile.

“Then I have a proposition for you, Mike,” Everett challenged.

“How about we keep track of any currency we find?

It will be a contest. In five, ten, or fifteen years, we’ll agree to

tabulate our findings to see who has won.

Then we will pool our riches and do something fun. Buy

lottery tickets, go somewhere for a weekend. Do something. What

do ya say?

“You are on, bud,” Mike said enthusiastically. “When do we

start?”

“I already have a penny. We’re engaged in this challenge

already!” Everett replied with a wink of the eye.

So, it began on that simple note.

Everett was a rancher who came back into the workplace due

to the drought.

In the occasional times of drought, he would fall back on his

college degree to go back to work in a hospital laboratory.

Mike was a long-term lab worker who loved games and

challenges.

Everett loved challenges, as well.

In a quick moment, a common bond was formed between

them.

Their relationship was not unlike their respective marriages.

Each had made a commitment to their spouses, and now, they

made one to each other.

A challenge, long term, between two buddies.

Each took the commitment seriously.

Mike’s wife would become irritated when Mike stooped to

pick up a penny or a dime at the supermarket check-out.

Everett’s wife probably experienced the same irritation.

Everett and Mike showed little concern.

They made a challenge each other and neither was backing

down.

I guess you might say it was a guy thing.

Don’t even attempt to argue it!

Both their spouses had to learn to put up with it.

After all, Everett put up with his wife’s idiosyncrasies.

Mike did the same with his wife.

        So, a little tolerance for your hubbies, ladies!

       After all, we are all different.

But isn’t that what really draws us to each other?

So be it!

“Say, Mike,” Everett once began. “Were you born in this town,

in this hospital?”

“In this town, yes, but not in this hospital. I was born in a taxi-

cab, just across the street, close to the Emergency Room.

        Mike, the cab driver, ran to the Emergency Room to grab a

doctor. He realized we could not make it to the hospital’s door.

        That’s how I got my name. He later sent a congratulations

note to Mom and Dad. Strangely, he wrote in his note that I would

come into some money as an adult.

        Something about being born in a taxi.

“Have you?” Everett was quick to ask.

“Not yet,” Mike replied wryly.

“Maybe it still is ahead of you. Start buying lottery tickets,”

Everett chuckled. “Who knows?”

Everett and Mike methodically kept separate any new-found

money that each came upon.

At one point, after six years, they did compare notes on their

progress.

Mike reported $851.

Everett reported $1,181.

Mike lived in a small city.

How does a rancher surpass a city boy in such a challenge?

Mike decided to take up a walking routine to improve his

statistics.

It now had become a life-long obsession for each of them to

work toward their unspoken, mutual goal.

This union of Everett and Mike was slowly becoming a success.

Mike had established an individual account at his bank that he

named the “New- Found” money account.

In the small, local bank, each of the four tellers kept up with

Mike’s progress and noted his progress as he made his “new-

found money” deposits.

“Oh my, Mike, last month was $34.15?” Jan announced.

“You bet. Got lucky. Found a twenty-dollar bill in the parking

lot!” Mike said with a big grin.

“Good show,” Jan said with praise.

The other three tellers turned their heads and smiled.

On one Saturday, Everett came in to relieve Mike at work.

“Say, Everett, what do we do if we find a lottery ticket on the

ground that is a wining $10 ticket. Is that “new-found”

money?” Mike asked.

“Well, Mike, if you find a lottery ticket, it’s not money. It’s

simply a paper ticket. No go!” Everett said with support.

Great! Mike pocketed his lucky find.

At one point, Everett arrived at work at 3 PM with a big,

Cheshire grin on his face.

“Hey, Mike. I found nineteen cents at the same spot in the

parking lot as I was getting out of my pick-up.”

“Everett, yesterday I found seven dollars at a bus stop!

However, the previous day was just a three-cent day.”

          This challenge became more than a simple challenge, it

became a way of life for the two of them.

Everett and Mike learned many things as a result of their

challenge.

There were loved ones that had felt disgusted with the “nasty”

habit.

Is it normal for a loved one not to respect an honest

challenge?

Many, many years ago, a family friend had made a challenge

to Mike’s younger sister, Kathy.

“If you save a quarter from your allowance each week for a

year, you will get a big surprise!” he promised.

She committed herself to the challenge.

After twelve months, she accumulated twelve dollars!

This is what motivated Mike to accept Everett’s challenge.

Mike always,  wished that he had been offered the same

challenge as his younger sister.

It never occurred to him to do the same on his own.  After all,

this was Kathy’s personal challenge, not his.

         Nevertheless, he longed for someone to challenge him.

         Mike’s daughter celebrated her birthday at home on May 20th.

Aunt Kathy gave her a piggy bank with five nickels.

“Each week, if you put two nickels in it, you will be in for a big

surprise,” Aunt Kathy said provocatively. “Your Dad will back me

up.”

So, when Everett’s challenge was put to him decades later,

Mike was ready and rearing to tackle it head on.

          At Mike’s retirement party, Everett popped a question to

Mike.

“Where to do we go with this now?”

          Mike replied, “Let’s wait and see where we are when you

retire.”

With seven years left before Everett’s retirement, it was

evident that over time the accumulated sums would become

somewhat significant.

But it was the art of the challenge, and the commitment that

was the driving force.

Almost like religion. Or a cult! Or team OCD!

“If nothing else, let’s donate our total to the Humane Society,

Heart Association or a needy local charity,” Everett said.

“Sounds great,” Mike responded with a smile.

$7,876.17.

The president of the Foster Parent Association nearly cried as

she was presented with the check!

What a great ride it was! What a wonderful challenge it had

been!

But their charitable donation was not the highpoint of all

those years.

It was the priceless investment in their friendship.

October 09, 2020 01:43

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1 comment

Darnayes Pen
23:23 Oct 14, 2020

Absolutely loved the story!! Following

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