One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for May 11, 2015.
My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.
Sometimes the oddest things can start a friendship. About ten years ago a great friend of my wife and I invited us to go to dinner with the new Town Manager from Rowland, NC. That friend was Dr. Mary Ann Masters who was from Rowland.
Mary Ann is the perfect southern hostess and she wanted the new town manager to feel welcomed. We agreed to meet at a restaurant in downtown Lumberton which at the time was called Blackwater Grill (today it is referred to as Candy Sue’s). During the conversation Mary Ann pointed out that the Town Manager and the Kenney’s had something in common. We were fixing up 100-year-old homes. The Town Manager name was Jimmy Bethea and those old houses became the beginning of a friendship that last today despite us only getting to see each other one day a year on average.
The friendship blossomed when after that first meeting in the restaurant we invited each other to our homes for dinner and an architecture tour of each of our homes. Each of our homes is located on the main street in a southern town. A picture of our home decorated for Christmas can be seen below.
At those dinners we talked about wainscoting, coal fireplaces, soffits, fascia board, hardwood floors, stripping off layers of wallpaper, and all other trials and tribulations living in a 100-year-old house brings. We both served dinner in our dining rooms and admitted to each other amongst much laughter that we never used that room. We were in the dining room trying to show off to each other how formal we could be, our shared vanity became funny.
When we went to Jimmy’s home in Rowland I had my first ever hefeweizen beer. He was so knowledgeable about beer. At that time my knowledge in regards to beer was Anheuser-Busch. If they didn’t brew it I didn’t drink it. Today my palate is a lot more discriminating and Jimmy started me on the path to becoming a beer snob.
In fact in 2014 I drank 365 unique beers one each day. Jimmy provided me some quality choices in 2014 and the complete list including some hefeweizen is list below:
Jimmy Bethea is one of the most eclectic and talented friends I have. He has done some wonderful things in his life including working at Chase Manhattan Bank, being successful in real estate investing, working for a time in the Virgin Islands, and most importantly a great connoisseur of craft beer.
In addition to that Jimmy is one of those people who you cannot help liking. His circle of friends is as diverse as anyone you will ever meet. His friends come in all ages, nationalities, race, religion, and occupations. I love to hear him talk about his friends because every damn one of them sounds so interesting. Jimmy does not have boring friends with the possible exception of me.
Our annual routine at this point in our friendship resolves around the Thanksgiving holiday. Jimmy’s mom still lives in the Carolina’s even though he calls DC home these days. He always makes it back to Rowland or Conway, SC for Thanksgiving. He knows that there are a couple of traditions that we are going to share together. One is he knows that we are going to share a beer together and two I am cooking his mom Joe Anne Bethea a deep-fried turkey.
Jimmy has a lot of friends but his mom is his best friend.
The Friend of the Friend – JOE ANNE BETHEA
Joe Anne Bethea
When you meet Jimmy Bethea’s mom Joe Anne you realize real quick where he got his people skills at. There are not many people who will invite you to a family function like an anniversary celebration without every having met you. Well that is what Joe Anne did for my wife and I right after we got to know Jimmy.
We went to Hamer, SC and Joe Anne made us feel like we had been part of her family are entire lives. People that can make strangers feel like long-lost friends are rare and Joe Anne and Jimmy both have that gift.
Joe Anne spends her time between Rowland and Conway, SC. In Conway SC she can sit on her back porch and look out at the Waccamaw River with old oak tree filled with Spanish moss. It is extremely peaceful down by the river. Jimmy is extremely proud of his mom and of all the friends that he has and all the wonderful stories he tells me about each one of them my personal favorites are when he talks about his mom.
I am blessed to have Jimmy as a friend but he is twice blessed to have Joe Anne Bethea as his mom and best friend.