Looking around my living room, I see my greatest friends of my
life are all around me on my book shelves. Every book I lift off
the shelf pinpoints a time in my life. They represent all the joy,
sorrow, and laughter felt in my life. The large, shiny red poetry
book my father read to me reminds me of all of these. It is
probably my favorite. Then I recall my people friends that
attended school with me through the years. What great fun they
were! I doubt I’ll ever forget the smell of my kindergarten class
and my first meeting with Belle Hudson. As I get older, I realize
how precious that friendship was. It taught me how to be a friend
and what I have seen in her is what I have looked for in friends ever
since. Now as an adult, I see Belle in friends like Tiffany,
Rachelle and it seems my favorite characters in my books have always
reminded me a bit of Belle. Belle had a profound effect on me in
childhood as well as later on in life. She was my finest friend
throughout grammar and Junior High school. We fancied relishing our
lunches together. Laughing about the boys\' wicked ways and planning
our revenge at the ensuing recess. This always made lunch go by so
swiftly. It was hard to tear us apart. Hell, it was hard to tell
us apart. We were both round bodied and a bit out of shape.
But I always saw Belle in a jovial light. She had a merry way
about her, and her laugh was infectious; it reminded me if Christmas
bells, tingly, jingling and warm. I miss her. She was happy,
giving and warm. Upon reflection, these are the attributes I look
for in friends.

Rachelle holds a special place in my heart. I work with her and
have found her to be a superb listener and always seems to know how
to dole out the right advice. It seems no issue is too large to
solve, and I would love to duplicate her upbeat nature in me.
It was our mutual interest in books, not our hiring at the same
company that brought us together. She desperately wants to be a
great writer. I know she will be. As our friendship deepens,
she has helped me realize my own potential. Although younger than
I, Rachelle has lived a much tougher life. I could say I know this
as hear her words of advice. It\'s not only in her words. She has
the oldest eyes, and for all of cheerful nature, there is a
immeasurable and profound sadness. I have such deep affection for
her. Perhaps one day I will have the words that will quell the
sadness in her big brown eyes.

My books, of course, would be my life long friends. Oh the joy I
feel to crack open a new book. I am desperately trying to come up
with the words that would describe the anticipation. As I flip
through the pages in contemplating of the next, I am in constant
thought of the person that breathes life into the characters.
Do they see themselves in them? Are they writing about that which
they aspire to be? Is the dying child theirs? Then there are all
my old favorites. Lying in bed at night I would wait ever so
patiently for my father to come in and pick up that great big
shiny red poetry book. I can still vividly feel how Jack did
climb that giant beanstalk. I remember the sleepless nights
after discovering the very next year, I would learn how to read.
Then I recall my father telling me he would teach me prior to class
in the fall. He couldn\'t possibly watch me sicken myself from lack
of sleep. Oh the excitement! How helpless Rupunzel and
Cinderella\'s prince were! I recall the feeling when Belle and
I had discovered ”Are you there God, it\'s me Margaret?” We had
not yet gotten our periods, so we read with breathless anticipation
as Margaret discovered her body grow. Needless to say, Belle and
I had much to discuss. On and on I could go. Indeed knowing my
books have always been my greatest passion and my books have always