Another friendship to be tested by a Summit County departure |

Another friendship to be tested by a Summit County departure

I can honestly admit I’ve been less than enthusiastic about Jane Reuter – my co-worker, best friend, confidante and general cohort in arms – leaving Summit County for bigger and better things.

These things are never easy.

I learned early on how hard it is to have friends leave our ever-so-

transient county – and often debate how much energy to put into a friendship knowing that people just leave. Maybe that’s a pessimistic view to take, but it’s a protective one as well. One’s heart can only take so much.

Our daughter, Erin, learned this the hard way, too, when her best friend, Mia, moved to Grand Junction in first grade. In second grade, Erin lost her best friend, Emma, to Evergreen. In third grade, it was Annie to Pennsylvania. In fifth grade, it was Porscha to New York. Now in sixth grade, she says her best friend, Lily, might move to North Carolina.

It’s hard to explain the importance of friendships when your friends keep leaving. Of all the friends I’ve had who have left Summit County in the past 16 years, only two, Deb in Louisiana and Kathy in Minnesota, have bothered to keep in touch. Sometimes, I think it’s me, but I know it’s not, because I hear other people’s stories of faded friendships.

I’m pretty sure my friendship with Jane won’t fade, however. And that, depending on whom you talk to, could be a good thing or a bad thing. We just go back too far.

The fact Jane and I have even formed a friendship is pretty amazing, considering how little we have in common.

My idea of roughing it is taking off into the woods, far, far away from civilization. Her idea of roughing it is a Holiday Inn.

Both of us agree tall, dark and muscular is the only way a man should be built, but when she points out what she thinks is a prime specimen, I couldn’t disagree more. And vice versa.

I’ve listened to her ramble on about the excitement of a new beau – and been there when that relationship went down in flames.

Our taste in style varies, too. She is a sharp dresser who follows the trends and isn’t afraid to try new things. Give me a pair of Levis and a T-shirt – one that reads Cayman Islands or BreckenBitch, I don’t care – and I’m happy. Jane wears strappy high heels; I prefer bare feet. She will spend oodles of money, in my opinion, to have the latest Halle Berry hair style; I don’t even know who Halle Berry is.

I remember a recent hoity-toity function we attended. I arrived at her house as she was applying makeup, threw my dress over my T-shirt and shorts and removed my shorts. I was ready to go. She took another half-hour primping to perfection.

Her house is meticulously clean. Mine is a mess; I follow the logic that a clean house/desk/car is a sign of a life spent poorly.

We don’t read the same books, listen to the same music or like the same home furnishings.

But, over the years, we have hiked every trail in this county, sometimes in blazing, skin-searing sunlight, other times in frigid summer snowstorms. We have struggled to walk the length of the Wheeler Trail and reach the summit of Ptarmigan Peak.

We have fought with each other about who gets to cover plane crashes and murders – and argued about the importance of putting certain comments in a story or the simple twist of a phrase. We’ve talked, advised and conferred about men, kids, money, men, work and men.

Our friendship has survived two vacations together.

And we’ve shopped. Oh, have we shopped. When a new mall opens in Denver – basically every other month – we are there, front and center, armed with credit cards. “Open. Open. Open,” we chant by the light of the rising sun.

Mostly, though, we’ve just laughed. A lot. Getting together with Jane is nothing if not a laugh-fest. We laugh about on-line dating, about photographs with John Elway, about lobsters belonging to the insect family, about “la-de-dah!”

That laughing is what I’ll miss the most.

But, like my friend Deb in Louisiana reminds me, “There’s a highway between ya’ll, and ya’ll know how to use it.”

I expect we’ll be burning up the phone lines as well.

Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or

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