I have had a very good friend over the last 50 plus years.  I first met this friend at a fraternity rush party after my senior year in high school. 

I remember that upon first meeting my friend to be, I wasn’t overly impressed.  They were acceptable but not overly impressive.  When I left home and went to college, I found that my friend had also come to Austin. I got to know my friend much better and grew to like them more and more. 

It seemed my newfound friend was omnipresent; I found my friend at every party, at all the bars and clubs, and my roommates and I eventually invited my friend and theirs to our apartment.

After completing the academic requirements for my various degrees, I moved to Mexico to teach at a university outside of Mexico City.  Interestingly, I discovered that my friend had moved to Mexico also and that they were bilingual. 

My friend is an interesting character in that there is no particular gender associated with them. In Mexico, my friend often appeared as a female named Margarita.  Other times my friend appeared as a Cuban as in Cuba Negra.  Many other times my friend was just referred to as cerveza.

In Ireland I found that my friend appeared as a woman with blonde hair wearing a long black dress.  I found that it took her several minutes to get dressed and you had to wait before you could enjoy her company.  Her last name was Guinness and she was at every pub that my wife and I visited in Great Britain and we traced the family tree to Saint James Gate in Dublin.

My friend has sometimes appeared as a male named Jack or Jim.  My friend has multinational roots in that he or she has roots in Mexico, Ireland, England, Scotland, Kentucky and Tennessee.  My friend is always the life of the party, ensuring that everyone has a great time.  My friend is also a friend to most of my other friends and colleagues. 

In short, we have had a long mutually rewarding relationship.

Recently I discovered that I had to cut ties with my longstanding friend.  I always was aware that like many other friends, this friend was not always good for me.  My friend was leading to potentially severe medical problems and that for the good of my physical condition I had to part company which I have now done.

I have found that life can continue without my friend but I have also discovered again how omnipresent my friend has become in our society.  My friend appears on every cooking show, every commercial advertising beach resorts, advertisements for holidays, cruises and a plethora of other examples. 

My friend even has actors suggesting that we “Stay thirsty mis amigos”.

So it has come to this, no Genevieve, no Margarita, no Guinness, or John or Jack.  Life has strange twists; things you took for granted can be found to be bad for your health and must be stopped.  This is no editorial comment about alcohol and drinking, it is just a summary of my long trip and series of experiences with my friend.  My friend will continue to be around but we will have to maintain a healthy distance.  I feel better having made these changes and will make an effort to continue on my new course.

Bob Newby is an educator and Erath County resident. He is a member of the E-T's community columnists and can be reached at newby@lipan.net.