jack you up in the parking lot!"
just turned sixteen. Inadvertently I had said or
done something to provoke the guy's wrath.
On another occasion a dude popped me in
the snoot because I looked at one of his
homegirls the wrong way. Another
time my buddy and I were jumped
and beaten in a dark section of the
Dell parking lot by two drunk thugs
who told us they were out "wilding"
that night and pummeling people at
abused, roughed up and bloodied, but I was
back for more until I won the respect of
the guys and gained acceptance as
It was an aspect of the Shady Dell experience
that attracted people from miles around and
one of the things I liked best about the place.
People who shy away from a little drama,
people who can't handle an upset, people
who head for the exit and are willing to
dissolve a long term friendship after a
single disagreement, are telegraphing
the fact that they don't belong here
at Shady Dell Music & Memories.
The upside is that the departure of
people who don't belong leaves
more room on the dance floor
for the rest of us, the people
who do belong here.
Belle Unruh, host of Who Am I? Who Is God?
Belle has been a dear friend for six years.
Belle assisted me in a social experiment
to determine which followers are genuine
friends and which ones are inclined to bolt
out the door at the first sign of conflict.
As you might have noticed, Belle and I
engaged in a spirited discussion thread
about friendship, commitment and
loyalty. It was not an argument.
(ALL CAPS = AN ARGUMENT.)
It was not even a debate and at no
time was there anger on either side.
It was a sincere, passionate and
completely civilized conversation
between old friends who love and
respect each other. For years Belle
and I have considered ourselves
family, close as brother and sister.
News flash: Siblings sometimes
disagree. Best friends sometimes
disagree. It is inevitable and
unavoidable. It does not
have to be a dealbreaker.
Our discussion ended when Belle
doubted that she has what it takes to be
a Dell rat and thought it best to curtail
her visits to SDMM. She reached that
conclusion even after I assured her
that all I want is for her to show up
and find something nice to express,
even if it is nothing more than a
friendly hello. It is the very same
philosophy, the same "Be Nice"
sermon that others are preaching.
Sad as I was that Belle chose to
give up and leave the pack after
all these years, I respected her
decision and bade her farewell,
confident that we would
remain email friends.
A remarkable thing happened a day or
two later when Belle and I got in touch
by email. We immediately experienced
the deep rapport that we have shared
for years. We reminisced, tracing our
friendship back to its beginning in
2009 when we met on the blog of
a mutual friend. We remembered
how we have always been there
for each other, lending support
in good times and bad. Right
then and there we agreed that
our friendship is strong enough,
resilient enough and real enough
to survive any dispute. The power
of our commitment to each other
transcends any disagreement.
Gladys Knight sang, "Neither one of us
wants to be the first to say goodbye."
I am very happy to report that Belle
changed her mind and wants to remain
an important and valued member of our
Shady Dell family. Belle is a wonderful
person, the kindest, gentlest, most
decent soul I know, and I am
truly thankful that she has
decided to return and
share her gifts with us.
Belle by playing some of her favorite songs.
"When I was
a teenager and
felt sad I listened
to the Beatles
for hours in
made me feel
happy." - Belle
the Beatles and other English acts that
she dressed like a mod limey lass.
The picture below shows Belle
holding her baby sister.
for us all in one of Belle's Beatle faves,
"We Can Work It Out."
of the following Sinatra song.
Thank you for standing by me, dear Belle. Here's to genuine, unconditional, unshakable, unfailing, loyal friendship, the kind that you and I have enjoyed since 2009. Indeed, I feel like I have known you all my life. You are family to me.
Welcome back, dear Belle, to a place where you will always belong. Welcome back to the Shady Dell, my cherished friend. May I have this dance?