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As I have admitted before, many of my "Fwd: Fwd:" e-mails get deleted, particularly the ones that are obviously derogatory. Occasionally, I read one and think: "That would be fun to share." This column is that sharing, even though I don't know the authors and can't give credit.

This one seems especially true for me; it's about friends: "Why do I have a variety of friends who are all different in character? Some of them can be considered marginal, even. How do I get on with them all? I think that each one helps to bring out a different part of me. With one I am a polite, good lady; with another, I joke. I sit down and talk about serious matters with one; with another I giggle at every silly thing. I have my tea with one and dance with another. I listen to one friend's problems and give her advice. Then I listen to another advising me. They are like pieces of a jigsaw; when completed they form a treasure box. A treasure of friends.

"They are friends who may understand me better than I myself, who support me through good days and bad. They are like colorful anti-depressants that I take on different days. Real Age doctors tell us that friends are good for our health. Dr. Oz calls them Vitamin F and counts their benefits to our well-being.

Research shows that people in strong social circles have less risk of depression and terminal strokes. If you take vitamin F constantly you can be up to 30 years younger than your real age. The warmth of friendship stops stress. And even in your tense moments it decreases the chance of a cardiac arrest or stroke by 50 percent. I am so happy that I have a stock of vitamin F."

Most of my friends, even those who are not native Southerners, understand our distinctive Southern communication.

For instance, they realize that the best gesture of solace for a neighbor who's got trouble is a plate of hot fried chicken and a bowl of cold potato salad, and if it's real bad trouble, add a banana pudding. And that a Southerner instinctively knows how many fish, collard greens, peas, beans, etc., make "a mess."

It is only a Southerner who can show or point out to you the general direction of "yonder" or how long "directly" is (as in "be back directly") or "by and by;" and Southerners never refer to one person as "y'all."

True Southerners know that "sweet tea" means lots of sugar, but "sweet milk" means plain milk, not buttermilk. And a true Southerner knows you don't scream obscenities at little old ladies who drive 30 miles-per-hour on the freeway. You just say: "Bless her heart, she's doing the best she can."

In fact, "bless her/his heart" can cover all kinds of indiscretions.

And for those that are not from the South, but have lived here for a long time, y'all need to hang out a sign on the front porch that reads: "I ain't from the South, but I got here as fast as I could."

South, North, East or West -wherever you are, you may appreciate this little gem: "I have been too many places, but I've never been in Cahoots. You have to be in Cahoots with someone. I have also never be in Cognito; I hear no one recognizes you there. I have, however, been in Sane - they don't have an airport, you have to be driven there. I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump, and I'm not much on physical activity." Especially not this summer.

Enough? I'll save my English language absurdities for another time.

Helen Taylor's column appears periodically in the Dawson Community News

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