Volume 1, Issue 1
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Ode to Vanessa

Salmon Patty Fiasco

Articles and Editorials - Ode to Vanessa
By Johnny Betts

I usually try to avoid being too serious, but a dear friend of mine is possibly on her last legs, so I hope you'll excuse me for breaking character just a bit to offer a tribute to someone who truly deserves one. Sometimes you just have to speak from the heart. Thanks for listening.

Since the plump-cheeked days of my early youth, Vanessa was always there. I didn't really get to know her until my senior year of high school, but even before that she was there, waiting to help me whenever the need may arise.

When I needed to get to baseball practice or wrestling practice, she was there. When Baker's Dozen and I decided to skip the school dance to go to a movie, she was there. She never questioned my motives or offered anything other than her support.

Vanessa wasn't very pretty during my senior year of high school, and it hurt whenever I heard anybody comment on it. But during freshman year of college, Vanessa blossomed into the beautiful specimen I always knew she had the potential to be. Negative comments were transformed into flattering compliments. Vanessa went from being ignored to being adored, and I was her closest friend. People were finally seeing the beauty in her that I had always known was there.

Vanessa saw me through college. When I got my degree, she was there. When I met my lovely wife Stephanie, Vanessa was there. Was she jealous of the relationship I shared with Stephanie? No, Vanessa wasn't the jealous type. Respect and support were more her manner. She instantly loved Stephanie just as much as she loved me, and that love transcended all other feelings.

When I applied for my first real job out of college, Vanessa was there. When the Mad Libs had a road trip planned, Vanessa was right there willing to help. She never said no, she never let me down. Oh, she wasn't always at full strength, but even the best have their bad days, no one can deny that. The important thing is that no matter what condition she was in, she was always there.

But time and tear take their toll on a body, and yesterday, life's cruel hand of indifference took its anger out on Vanessa.

Vanessa's in fairly critical condition now. I won't go into specifics because they won't help the matter. But Vanessa always wanted to go out in a blaze of glory, and she just may have gotten her wish. The fight's not over yet, not by a long shot. My prayers and efforts to keep Vanessa going will remain strong until the very end.

I couldn't get through this without Stephanie. She knows the friendship Vanessa and I had, she shared it too. Sometimes you just have to refuse to give up hope, so we sit at hope's door, waiting for the latch to be undone.

And while we sit back and wait to see what the final outcome will be, we can't help but look at what life is all about. When something unexpected like this happens everything changes. The air isn't as clear, the water isn't as fresh, the steak isn't as juicy, and Seinfeld just doesn't seem as funny anymore.

So will Vanessa ride again? Well, it's in God's hands now, but I have faith that she will. And if she doesn't? Then I have a feeling that the music won't play quite as loudly here from now on because they sure don't make cars like Vanessa anymore.
Copyright 2002 Madlib Productions, All Rights Reserved

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