Friends come from different times and different places in our lives. Some stay with us for a short time; others, stay for the long haul. I met one of my dearest friends when I got my job at Houchens. She was actually my immediate boss. I have to say at this time that I LOVE my job. I’ve been there for 6 years and compared to the job I had previous to this – forget it. This job is like heaven! Anyway, the way you are hired into Houchens is knowing someone already there. I think maybe my job was created for me. At any rate, I don’t think my group was happy that another “old lady” had been hired in. The first day I was introduced to Courtney, she gave me her best “I am a well educated, strong black woman. I am your Boss and you best not forget it.” I just laughed at her! Basically, she’s young enough to be my daughter and as I told her, “You’ll have to do better than that to scare me! For almost 3 years, I worked at a place where I was usually one of maybe 4 white faces in a sea of probably 100 black faces.”
We pretty quickly got on the same page. It helped that we have the same birthday month and a similar sense of humor. She is a single mother of twin boys. When I first met her, her father had passed away the year before and she and the boys were living with her mother. She, like me, loves to read. She’s very active in her church and a wonderful role model. She and I slowly formed a close relationship built on daily contact and mutual respect. Even though she was my boss, we played our roles and kept our friendship to ourselves. If I needed to talk, she would invite me into her office, close the door and let me unload. Some days it was her turn. Either way, we became very close. She loves Doug and knows Everything about my family.
As close as we were at work, she didn’t discuss “work” issues with me. I did not know her daily, weekly, monthly problems at work. So 3 years into my employment, when Courtney announced that she was leaving Houchens, I was devastated!! I couldn’t imagine what would happen to me! Courtney had always had my back! She was the one that would be looking out for me! Yes, I was worried about ME! She was young enough that I knew she would land on her feet. At 60, my working days are numbered. And aside from that concern, I was losing my FRIEND! When she made her announcement in the conference room, I broke down and sobbed!
The next year was horrible! I drug myself to work everyday, but it was drudgery! My joy in the job, my joy in my daily live was gone. I grieved for Courtney as if she had died. As time has gone on, of course, we have both adjusted to the changes in our lives. She got a wonderful job that she loves ; where she makes more money and doesn’t have to drive very far to work. She also gets to spend more time with her boys who are growing like weeds. As we hit the day of February 4, it’s hard for me to believe I ‘ve been without Courtney for exactly as long as I was with her. Even though she is just a phone call away, and she continues to be my close friend, I miss her sweet, pretty face every day. I always will. I love you, my Chocolate Child. God bless you! Stay tuned.