Summers of Coffee, Mexican Food, and My Best Friend

Ryan Berhar avatar

by Ryan Berhar |

Share this article:

Share article via email
best friend

(Courtesy of Ryan Berhar)

Refined By Fire Ryan Berhar

Coffee and Mexican food: These are two of my greatest loves, and I once again enjoyed them today, the day I celebrated the one-year anniversary of my best friend Sam’s move to Bend, Oregon.

The original plan was for Sam to live here to help with my care last summer only. To be honest, I was skeptical the plan would come to fruition. But it turned out to be better than expected because he’s still here.

After last summer ended, Sam decided to stick around a while longer. Although he got his own place a couple of months ago and is not caregiving every day, I still see him often.

So far, it’s the only chance I’ve had to spend an extended period of time with a close friend, and it’s been one of the best years of my life. Living with your best friend is something that many people never get the opportunity to do. Sam’s presence has greatly enriched my life, as loneliness and boredom were setting in big time. I’ve done many things I would never have had the opportunity to do without him.

Over the summer, we held coffee Bible studies daily, often at Starbucks or at one of several parks. We made it through the entire New Testament, and in the process, I think we built each other up spiritually.

(Courtesy of Ryan Berhar)

Our reading expanded beyond the Bible, with “Food: A Love Story,” by comedian Jim Gaffigan. Now, I haven’t read a ton of books in my life, but don’t judge me, as I’m not a good reader. As Gaffigan said, “TV is much better.” So, while trusting me with book recommendations is like trusting a skinny chef, I have to say that this is the second best book I’ve read (after the Bible, of course). I’m passionate about comedy and love food, so the book spoke to me in two special ways.

Lunch sometimes followed these coffee sessions with Sam. As I mentioned, a lot of Mexican food was consumed. We went to a restaurant called Mazatlán quite a bit. Their ground beef enchiladas are the best.

One of the most memorable things I did was take a hike. While people use “take a hike” in a negative way, for me it’s an aspiration. This was special for me because I have never taken a hike before. We discovered a park that has wheelchair-accessible trails and bridges. Experiencing nature in that way is something I rarely get to do, so that memory really stands out.

If you ever have the chance to live with your best friend, do it. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is never to pass up once-in-a-lifetime experiences. When you get older, chances are you will have a family, so living with a friend (other than your spouse, of course) will no longer be possible. I feel truly blessed to have been able to do it.


Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.