To the uninformed, the above picture is just a photograph of a six-pack of sardines. To me, that small tower of Omega-3 is significant of so much more. It is a symbol of friendship, family, support, and love.

You're thinking, "well that statement is certainly hyperbolic!" So, let me explain. I have a fairly small circle of best friends. Among them is the guy who's been by my side for 24 years. We started out as co-workers, became best friends and now we're family.

I refer to Ben quite often as, "the best brother I never had." Over the years, he has given me some "interesting" gifts. In fact the first year we worked together, he gave me the movie Porky's on VHS, wrapped in Sunday newspaper comics, because I'd never seen it. (In case you're wondering, I still haven't.)

Then there was the year he gave me a huge box of meat for Christmas, because he knew I was having financial issues and hadn't eaten any in awhile. Or the year he sent me to Kohls to buy the Christmas dress I wanted, but wouldn't buy.

Once he gave me a certificate to a housecleaning service for my birthday, so I'd quit freaking out about getting my house spruced up before family arrived. Now to the sardines. The thoughtfulness behind this seemingly wacky gesture is amazing to me. The warmth and safety of that comfort zone is something you only find with a few people in your life.

He knows how much I love sardines in olive oil, but again, I will rarely spend the money to buy them. They are a complete indulgence. I take the sardines out of the can and eat them with Ritz crackers. Then I'll take more Ritz crackers, crush them up into the remaining fishy olive oil and eat them.

Ben is one of the few people in my life, (mostly family, until now) who knows this quirky food predilection of mine and knew I would love the sardines. He makes me laugh everyday, he supports me at all times, comforts me when I'm down, loves me for reasons beyond understanding and gives me sardines! What more could a person ask for?


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