In this age of instant communication, it's still exciting to answer the phone and hear a voice that you haven't heard in years. That was the reaction I had last week when my office phone rang and a gravelly voice I hadn't heard in several years came on the line.
"Hello, Gerry. This is Felix. How are you doing?"
Since Felix and Lola Haler moved to Midland, I've only seen him a couple of times. I've chatted with him on several occasions; but, it seems we both had let even more time than usual pass since we had last spoken.I used to talk to Felix once or twice a week. He was the National Weather Service reporter, and provided me with the weekly log of highs, lows and rainfall. Additionally, he was the organizer of the Weather Spotters, and he worked with me to keep information flowing to readers about precautions they could take to minimize their risks during Texas' severe storm season.
As time went on, we had conversations about World War II and Felix's military service. We talked politics and families. Over time, we developed an easy friendship. When he and Lola had a big anniversary party, I was honored to help out by taking photos of the occasion.
When they made the decision to move to Midland, Felix worked to help find someone to cover the weather in his place and I was fortunate to end up with Butch and Martha Leifeste. Earl Koch took over the articles about storm preparedness. But, I no longer had my conversations with Felix that I had come to enjoy so much.
On Saturday, Felix will celebrate his 89th birthday. He isn't able to travel as much now, so he hasn't been back to Mason in quite a while. I don't make it out to Midland much; but, fortunately, Felix and Lola still get the Mason County News. That means that I can still let Felix know how much he's meant to me over the years, and I can wish him a very happy 89th, and many more yet to come.
While I'm thowing out my birthday wishes, I need to also be sure to include Sean Reardon on the 23rd (same day as Felix) and Kevin Shoemaker on the 21st. Having your two closest friends with side-by-side birthdays usually lends itself to easy celebrations, though the two of them have to share the cake, share the well wishes and share the spotlight.
I can't image what my life in Mason would be like without my two friends. I have more than a decade on the two of them; but, they get closer to my age with every passing year. I've shared some great times with the two of them, and been through some rocky times as well.
Happy birthday Peanut and Sean. Happy birthday Felix. Happy birthday to everyone else who is celebrating yet another year of life.
Let's all make the most of the time we have together, and remember that it is our friends that make us the person that we are. It is the reflection of our strengths and weaknesses in those people that helps us realize the best and the worst in ourselves. And I thank God every day for the joys and sorrows that being a friend involves. And, I celebrate the birthdays of those friends as my way of celebrating my great fortune in having all of them in my life.
It’s all just my opinion.