A young, wise person once told me “everybody in life has a friend that they can depend on but the real blessing is finding more than one friend”. That young, wise person happens to be one of my co-best friends and the first member of what has become my Elite 8. In today’s post to The 24 To 30 feature, I’ll cover the story of Jeremie Mason…
THE BACKGROUND. The background on Jeremie and I started in May 1999, shortly before I finished 8th grade at Wilkerson Middle School. I lived in the South Avondale part of Birmingham at the time and me and my sister would catch the MAX from right in front of Smithfield Public Library to the newly opened Central Station, where we’d transfer to a bus out to South Avondale. A 3rd person from Wilkerson—a good childhood friend of mine named Samantha—rode with us. She had this huge crush on this light-skinned dude who always transferred from the 25 to the 14. His name was Jeremie Mason. Before the school year ended, we all hung out at Central Station for like 20-30 minutes a day before we all caught our respective buses. The story would’ve ended there if not for what happened nearly 2 years later at Parker High. That led to me transferring to Huffman High in February 2001 and Jeremie was in my Honors US History 10 class. He was the first person I literally knew at Huffman. Pretty much, our familiarity with each other is how our friendship started. For the remaining 2 ½ years of high school, we were really tight. We took a lot of the same classes and kept it close with a lot of the same classmates. We even got into some of the same trouble…like the time we got suspended after leaving the campus for lunch. I’m still mad Mrs. Shoemaker dimed us out on that. Jeremie was one of the few people who truly understood my feelings for Kanecia Killian—arguably the finest girl in our graduating class—and the frustrations I experienced in unsuccessfully chasing her the entirety of junior year. Even outside of school, me and Jeremie were tight. We hung out on occasion and he was one of the few people I hooked up with discounted food from Domino’s. When I left for college and the military life, we still kept it close. In fact, he was one of only 2 people I kept really close ties with after high school. Over time, he proved himself to be one of my closest confidants. I could always be straight up with him with any and everything I was going through and he’d give me an honest assessment. In essence, he is like my life accountant…the person who lets me know if I’m running off the rails in different phases of life. Today, as we’re both closing in on the venerable age of 30, we’re still close. He’s like a brother to me.
THE MOMENT OF IMPACT. The moment of impact with Jeremie came in the aftermath of what happened with Chavon. After getting by that whole matter where I almost jumped off the Main Street Bridge, I fell into somewhat of a depression period. I didn’t necessarily feel comfortable talking to my parents about it. I was too embarrassed to talk to my supervisor about it and I didn’t want to risk being labeled if I used any of the services the Air Force provided. So I talked to him about it. He listened. He didn’t blame me, he didn’t blame her. He just simply said it was unfortunate. He gave me advice on how to move on past difficult times. By the time I was set to leave for Japan a couple months later, I was in a completely different mind frame. I owe much of the credit of getting through that difficult period of time to him.
HOW IT GOT ME TO 30. Me and Jeremie are tight. Like thistight. My father often notes that it’s not at all a coincidence that we’re such great friends: we have the same thinking patterns and similar philosophies on life. Jeremie keeps me from getting too wound up on life…my success, my achievements, my struggles, my failures. I’ve found that to be very crucial as I’ve walked out this thing called life. To have a friend like him for this long—and it doesn’t look like we’ll be parting ways anytime soon—is a tremendous blessing. He’ll be the best man at my wedding when the time comes.