Good friends are Christmas’ greatest gift |

Good friends are Christmas’ greatest gift

Orllyene’s sewing machine is inoperable. She’s midway through three projects that must be finished by Christmas. I stop in at Sylvia’s Quilt shop in Yerington. Sylvia and Orllyene are friends. Up goes the machine onto the operating table, and 35 grueling minutes later, Sylvia declares, “This poor machine is terminal, Ron. It’ll cost more to have it fixed than it’s worth. I’ll go online, and see what Walmart has.” My heart quickens. “Look at this; here’s a $299 ‘Janome 22,’ for $149.74. Janome is a good name machine.” I throw my arms around Sylvia, give her a hug, and race out the door. The scent of blood fills the air.

Fifty miles later, I prowl the aisles of Walmart in Gardnerville. An associate tells me, “We do have a machine for $149.74, but it’s not a Jenome.” “Is the regular price $299?” I ask. “It’s always $149.74,” she says. Ah ha, this is not the machine I’m looking for. Back in my Jeep, I head home to Smith Valley. “Patience will make me stronger,” I say through grinding teeth.

The next day I go to Walmart’s website. A phrase catches my eye, “Good during Cyber Week only.” Haste is imperative, and I attempt to place an order. No luck. I try again, and again; still no luck. Wait. Isn’t Larry coming over, in just a few minutes? Larry is a friend and computer expert who helps me with computer issues. As soon he sits down, I say “Larry, would you mind placing an order for me before you start working on the computer?” and he goes to work.

“Do you have an account with Walmart?” he asks. “I might have had one a long time ago,” I answer. “Do you remember the password?” “No.” His fingers fly across the keyboard in a blur. Moments Larry finds my old account, sets a new password, and I buy the sewing machine I want.

Without missing a beat, he begins cleaning out my computer of unwanted debris. Suddenly, with all seriousness says, “Ron, this computer pre-dates Windows 7 by almost 10 years. It’s really old. I have a laptop computer I’m not using. I can bring it over, hook it up, and you can use your own monitor, keyboard and mouse, if you want. The battery is shot, but if you want to, you can take it with you, all you have to do is plug it in. “Can all the data on this machine be saved?” I ask. “Absolutely, I’ll come over and download everything,” and then adds, somewhat gleefully, “Besides, then I won’t have to be coming over here and working on this one all the time.”

So, it seems Santa is bringing me a new computer this Christmas, and his real name is Larry. Friends like Sylvia and Larry are what’s meant by “Peace on earth and goodwill to men.” Merry Christmas.

Ron Walker can be reached at