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The Catch of Friendship

As we parked our car, Nita came from the opened front door of their home, walked down the steps, and then welcomed Jerry and me, as she did also the Stevensons who had pulled up behind our car. We had been invited to dinner with our friends at the Johnny Hodges place!Image

We talked and talked, and of course someone was bound to mention that through the years our conversations had changed drastically, and we all smirked and nodded our heads as we agreed we no longer talk of Pablum, toddler doings or of teenage mischief, rather of blood pressure readings, sugar levels, slugs of Pepto-Bismol, and of walking canes.

“I call my cane a sympathy getter,” Jerry said.

“Mine steadies me,” Berl said.

“I don’t want one,” Johnny said.

“But you need one,” Nita said as she looked lovingly at her sweet, frail husband.

untitled (5 of 26)In the kitchen, she fried fish and shrimp. At the table Johnny prayed and we ate and ate, and after we rested awhile from our labors, we moved to the back patio area, and ate pie and drank coffee. We talked seriously of our love for God and for truth and of regression and of progress.

untitled (16 of 26)We three beauties posed. Jerry snapped the lens.

untitled (23 of 26) . . . and the men were little boys again . . . and roared.

Catch it if you can . . . the spirit of enduring friendship. Hold it if you’re able . . . the smooth feel of enduring friendship, the solidity, the heft. Hear it if you can . . . the music of enduring friendship, the moans of shared past griefs, the silvery tinkle of corporate accomplishments, the echoing words of message and song. See it if you can . . .the tombstones, the hospital records . . . and cry . . . and hold a hand and wipe a tear . . . and know how special, how rare, how blessed you are.

By Shirley Buxton

Still full of life and ready to be on the move, Shirley at 83 years old feels blessed to have lots of energy and to be full of optimism. She was married to Jerry for 63 years, and grieves yet at his death in August of 2019. They have 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren...all beautiful and highly intelligent--of course. :)

13 replies on “The Catch of Friendship”

I have been reading your blogs to my husband,it brought tears to our eyes..Every time I read anything you write it always brings my daddy and mama to mind and the love I feel is so sweet! I know they would have loved to be right in the middle of you all! I can hear the laughter now..oh and the stories!!! Thank you, thank you for writing! Love you!..♡ ~Cherie


Sis. Buxton – I love this post! It made me laugh and cry! I do not know Sis. Stevenson, but I have met Sis. Hodges, and heard her speak several times. Beautiful ladies! So glad you had your special time together! The brothers laughing was a precious picture! God is good, all the time, through all of life’s seasons! Love you!


Oh my! I love the picture of the 3 men laughing! That is precious! 🙂
I hope you and Bro. Buxton are doing well! Love you!

Hi Jen! What a treat to hear from you. Yes, we are well. Hope the same is true for you and your family. Hugs to all…..


Shirley, I love your pics. And the message u share about our friendships is so right on! I can hardly wait until our next “Three Musketeers” reunion n January @ Berl& Lavelta’s. Love, Johnny & Nita.

Nita and Johnny . . . thank YOU. Jerry and I truly cherish your friendship and our times together. . . besides . . . the food was phenomenal. 🙂


I loves your article, Sis. Buxton, and I am so thankful (also) for our lifetime (over 40) years of friendships with Hodges, III, Harding’s, and Abbott’s (Tulare). I have shared my heart and soul with them many times and we have shared family heartaches and blessings as well. I feel very rich with my friends. Love you and your friends as well!!

Berni, thank you for dropping by, and for leaving this great comment. So happy that we are all blessed with such great friends.


I just love this and though I can not always be in the presence of my dearest most beloved friends; due to geographical distances; to find a friend is like finding a Gem, keeping it and not selling it and to treasure it, is to gain.
I feel blessed to have had some of the most wonderful friends anyone could ask for. Its not for what they do for us or what they don’t do, its how much they love and accept us for who and what we are. They see us through the bad the good and the ugly and still they stand by your side. Its a rare and noble thing and I am glad that God saw fit to put these friends; male and female; in my life. I will forever be grateful and thankful for their “Forever friendship” thank you
sis Buxton for posting this…

I do love you so much, Tammy. Glad we have been able to share parts of our lives.


Love seeing all of you having a fun time!!! Love friends!!!! Wish we were there!!!! Lol

Paula, I wish you both were here too! It would add so much to the party. We’re going back this morning for a late breakfast……:)


You have such a beautiful way with words. Love you.

Thank you Sister Keyes. Wish you were here with us. We’re going back in a few minutes for breakfast……a real time of celebration.


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