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Friends for Life

When my childhood best friend was fighting for his life, we found new strength in our oldest bonds.

I don't know what I said when I spoke at Jack's funeral. I hadn't written anything down. I'd only been getting ready for it for 50 years.

On the way up the aisle at the end of the services, I walked behind the casket. I wanted to talk to him about it—I wanted to tell him: Man, Jack, we thought we'd seen everything. But you won't believe this. Do you know where we were today? Take as many guesses as you want—you'll never guess this one. Not in a million years.

Four rows from the back, sitting on the aisle, was a woman in her seventies.

As Jack passed her, and then as I passed her, I sensed that she was reaching out her hand toward me.

I looked over at her as I walked.

She was Miss Barbara.

I took her hand in mine and she squeezed it, and then we were out the door, and again I wanted to tell him. Guess who was here, Jack. I know you'll get it—think hard. Guess who came to see you today.

I wanted to tell him everything.

Bob Greene is a bestselling author and an award-winning journalist.

Excerpted from the book "And You Know You Should Be Glad: A True Story of Lifelong Friendship" by Bob Greene, published by William Morrow. Copyright © 2006 by John Deadline Enterprises, Inc.


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