To Your
BESTEST FRIEND

By Jeanne Robertson

"Good, better, best. Never let it rest," etc. We know that from Junior High English. But in the South "best" loses its lofty position because women have a tendency to refer to anyone they see once a week in Harris Teeter as their "best friend." Then there are hoards of "really best friends" and "very best friends." Therefore, my really best friend and I decided years ago that we would throw grammarians into a tizzy and call ourselves "bestest friends." You can have only one - I repeat, only one - bestest friend and sometime you have to cut them a little slack.

"Have you ever thought about getting a bigger diamond ring?" The question came out of the blue one fall from my bestest friend Norma Rose White, who is always concerned about how I look when I give speeches.

"What’s wrong with my wedding rings?"

"Well, nothing. Nothing really," she drawled and glanced away. Uh-oh. "You know I wouldn’t bring it up if you weren’t my bestest friend." Look out, Nellie. She shifted around in her chair a little before zeroing in. "Jeanne, you know you have a large body."

"I know that, Norma Rose. I'm sitting right here in it."

"Well, your wedding rings look small on your large body. Sometime when you’re on stage, the audience cant even see your small rings. You ought to hint to Jerry that you want a big ring for Christmas."

I looked down at the rings Jerry saved to buy years ago when he was working at the YMCA. They looked all right to me. Granted, you might not see them from a back row, but if you come to my speeches to see my rings, get there early and sit in the front. My bestest friend Norma Rose had never before mentioned my small rings. Why now? She swallowed hard and kept going.

"I wouldn’t hurt your feelings for anything." Okay. "Lately, your rings just look smaller for some reason. Maybe because they’re next to your arthritic knuckle." As I said, she’s my bestest friend and you have just one.

But I didn’t want another ring and I told her so. No problem.
A month later, Norma Rose came hustling through the front door. "I’ve thought of a solution for the ring situation." Now there was a "ring situation?" She plopped two gold circles on the table as though she had discovered the solution to cellulite. "Ring guards! Put them on either side of the rings Jerry gave you and the overall effect will be that you've got on a bigger ring. I've had these for years but Ill sell them to you for fifty dollars."

Right there is where I messed up. Fifty dollars seemed fair for old, used, ring guards but I didn’t particularly like them. She had evidently worn them, though, and I didn't want to hurt her feelings because after all, she's my bestest friend. First, I lied. "Oh, they're wonderful. I love them. And look, I can get them over my arthritic knuckle." Then, my exit. "But I've always thought that Jerry should give me personal items such as rings. I wouldn't want to buy them for myself." No problem. She put the ring guards back in her purse.

On Christmas morning . . . (Do I really need to go on?) ... Jerry pulled a small box from under the tree. "Norma Rose said you really liked these ring guards but wanted me to give them to you. They're not new, honey, but I got a good deal. She sold them to me for seventy-five dollars."

I let my bestest friend call me. "Merry Christmas! Did you get the ring guards?"

"Yes."

"Were you surprised?"

"Yes."

Bestest friends sense things. "What’s wrong?"

"Norma Rose, are these the same ring guards you offered to sell me two months ago for fifty dollars?"

"Yes."

"Did you sell them to Jerry for seventy-five?"

She paused before she defended herself. "Yes. But I remind you, Jerry is not my bestest friend."

Merry Christmas to you, yours and your bestest friend!