Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Best Friends

For Christmas my daughter, Kate, gave me two wooden boxes, each with 52 sealed cards. One box is for Sunday; it contains meditations, scripture verses or motivational notes. The other box contains "prompts" for things to write about. This Wednesday's prompt is about friends.

As a child, my family moved about a fair bit. When my parents were married, my Dad was in the Navy and we moved every year or two, due to postings and other family changes. After my parents split up, we continued to move about. So I learned to make friends easily; sadly, I learned to leave them easily too. Yet all through this, if you asked me who I did stuff with, who I turned to in trouble or need, who impacted my life on a daily basis, it would be my brothers far more than anything else.

This does not mean I do not have terrific friends; I do. David and Elizabeth were there when I got the diagnosis. They felt the physical brunt of the first uttering of that dreaded phrase "you have ALS". My greatest companions and supporters, outside of my brothers, are Chris and Chris. Yes, my two best friends are both named Chris, and they are both English (well, mostly); it's coincidence, not convenience. I called them right after I called my brothers.

I had some terrific friends as a child living in east Vancouver. Corey Wardrop and Jackie Wolff made up the other two of our Three Musketeer set in grades 4, 5 and 6. We hung around together, came to each other's houses, knew each others parents, and had great fun exploring. But when I wanted to go beyond the neighbourhood, I went with my big brother.

In my teenage years the person I was with the most was my brother Peter. We spent countless hours hanging around with other friends and each other. My younger brothers, Jim and Matthew, ever present in my life, added to the general cacaphony of our family life together. Sure I had friends; they didn't last in memory as have my brothers. Ask Matthew about the fish tank and the hockey stick. Ask Jim about my ax. Ask Peter about ashtrays. Ask Adam about fishing in Stanley Park.

To this day I turn to the four men who have been with me my whole life. To this day, when I need help I call them. They were the first I turned to when diagnosed. I know this may distress my children; I think they wanted me to turn to them first. My brothers were there before my wife, before my children, before my friends. My brothers were, are, and always will be there.

I hope my friends will forgive me my indulgence. They are great friends. But my best friends are my brothers; Robert Adam McBride, Peter Hale McBride, James Andrew McBride, Matthew Gordon McBride. They are now, they always have been. Some days I just didn't know it. I do now.


  1. "it's coincidence, not convenience" - lol!

  2. That's so nice! Calling your bro's first is normal. My siblings are my number 1's.

  3. I second that emotion. Our upbringing, closeness in age, and shared experiences throughout our lives have made us, as a group, a close family despite whatever differences we may have had over the years. The boys would certainly be my call when things go right or wrong.

  4. It doesn't distress me or surprise me Dad :) My chain of contact has always been Albert, you & mom, Meg, Kate and Ricky (if he's so inclined). I would actually worry more about telling Rose than I would telling my siblings.