Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

Karla's Kolumn: A special kind of friend

Ever been sucker punched. You know when something comes out of nowhere, takes your breath away. I got sucker punched Sunday by way of a text notifying me that a dear friend of mine had passed away.

Gladys was one of those friends who comes into your life for a short time but leaves a lasting impression.

She was a co-worker with me at the Lovell Chronicle. I remember our first conversation on the telephone before I was even hired. I remember her welcoming smile on my first day. She became like a second mom to me, my Lovell mom so-to-speak.

She taught me as much about the newspaper business as any of my mentors and editors.

Gladys was my professional encourager for 16 years, my sounding board, my counselor.

It was more than a work friendship though. She was my late night and weekend "veterinarian." She had cared for animals - adopting numerous cats and dogs over the years, and raising rabbits for many years. If I was nervous about something my dog did, like when I clipped Jake's nails too close to the quick, she was always there to give me advice on how to care for him.

She was there to dog sit for the week during my honeymoon.

A godly woman with a love for Christ, she encouraged me in my walk with the Lord, whether it being accompanying me on the piano or organ when I sang church solos or supporting me and helping build my confidence as I led the music worship or taught Sunday school.

I was privileged to watch her blossom as a painter and blessed to have some of her work in my home.

Gladys was the type of person you could be yourself around, on good days and bad days, she let me be me. She would give me advice and encouragement when it was needed but also held me accountable when I needed that as well.

After I moved from Lovell we didn't have a chance to visit a lot but I thought of her often. I had the opportunity to visit with her this summer and I realized Gladys was the type of friend that it doesn't matter how long you go without visiting, you can pick up where you left off. I knew if I ever called or dropped by her house I would be welcomed.

You're wondering why, since most, if not all of you reading this do not know Gladys, why am I writing about her.

The reason is because you may have a Gladys in your life. Someone who means the world to you, who has helped you grow as a person. Gladys knew that I loved her as a friend but I do not know if she ever really knew the positive impact she had on my life. That is perhaps my only regret in our friendship, that she should know that.

If you have a Gladys in your life tell them what they have meant to you. Don't wait, reach out to them and let them know their friendship, their time in your life, no matter how long or short, has meant the world to you.

I also write this to remind us that we might be the Gladys in someone else's life. Never discount how long you are part of someone's life. People move away, they grow apart, but a friendship with strong bonds can have a lasting impact.

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