Old friends are the best

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Special to the Opelika Observer

One night last week, I hung out with Anthony and Eloy, a couple of friends I worked with many years ago at Kroger Drugstore. I’d seen them individually a handful of times over the years. In fact, they’d been to a couple of my comedy shows where I talked about my days at the store, but this was the first time we’d all gotten together for a night out, which was a comedy show in itself. We had a great time.
The store was located at what is now Dollar General. That narrows it down, doesn’t it? That’s like saying “next to Waffle House.” I believe a little more specificity is in order. Those stores are all over town. “If you build it, they will come” is a popular quote from the movie “Field of Dreams.” Well, with respect to Dollar General, if you build it and leave it vacant for longer than 48 hours, they will come.
The Dollar General I’m referring to is the one located directly next to Piggly Wiggly. See, now you know exactly where I’m talking about. I travel all over Alabama, and you wouldn’t believe how often “The Pig” is used as a reference point. “Now you know where the Piggly Wiggly is, right?”
We reminisced about the good old days. We laughed until we cried, whether it was about Anthony putting mailbox letters on the side of his car or me looking for a box of fallopian tubes. We didn’t have too many funny stories on Eloy since he’s so much older. We missed out on his young and dumb days.
I started working at the store in February 1989. Eloy had been there for a number of years, while Anthony started about a year and a half before me. In fact, it was called Super X when they started. I left for the Army in 1992. I learned to run the buffer at the store, which made me the subject matter expert in basic training, a title I did not covet. I returned in 1996 and stayed until 2001. I was the last man standing.
It was the perfect place for us to work, as management was very flexible with us regarding our school schedules. All three of us were non-traditional students, which for us is just another way of saying we were a little older while going to school. The bottom line, however, is that we all graduated college. I know without a shadow of a doubt that we motivated each other to do so. That’s what friends are for.
We are all doing well. Anthony is now a teacher and coach at Loachapoka. Eloy is a contractor for the Air Force, and as the old folks say, “does something with computers,” and I do whatever it is I do. Anthony just whooped prostate cancer and Eloy is old, so I’m glad we got together when we did. Who knows what the future holds for any of us? I’m just hoping it holds more get-togethers.
The drugstore was a great place to work. It’d been over 15 years since we were all together, but we didn’t skip a beat. It was as if no time had passed at all, which is a sign of true friendship. We listened, laughed, learned, and loved, because that’s what real friends do.
We don’t get to choose our family, but we do get to choose our friends, so choose wisely. Life is all about choices. We are the sum of those with whom we associate. I’m blessed to associate with great family and friends, especially the old ones; they are the best.
Jody Fuller is from Opelika. He is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at jody@jodyfuller.com. For more information, please visit www.jodyfuller.com.

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