Happiness Is…

Long, strong friendships.


In a crowded Calculus lecture hall, first year at Waterloo, I spied a gangly guy in a fedora. In the twenty-six years since then, Bill and I have covered a lot of ground.

We made it through school, we braved bears on both Canadian coasts, we hitched a freighter to Labrador, biked past icebergs and camped among braying elk and screeching racoons. We drank a lot of coffee. We skied, we biked, we hiked, we drove.

We grew up. We stayed friends.

And what a friend. Bill has brightened our days throughout this challenge with delicious home cooked meals, healthful gifts and weekly visits. He’s subjected himself to gruelling afternoons of Life, Clue and Twister with Lucy and Bayla. And he’s turning the winter of their mom’s chemo into our girls’ first season of thrilling cross-country skiing adventures.

Happiness is my long, strong friendship with Bill Flanagan.


On July 1st, 1993, as we giddily embarked on a 7,550 km bike ride across Canada, I was greeted by the beaming smile, hand-painted Winnie-the-Pooh helmet and lime green cycling jacket of my soon-to-be best friend, Jay.

In the sixteen years since our cross-country meeting, Jay and I have survived headwinds, sunburns and soaked tents along the Icefields Parkway, the B.C. Gulf Islands and, scariest of all, rural Ontario. Our friendship has stretched to accomodate her adventurous years in Asia and my consuming years of early motherhood. We’ve skied, biked and skated. We’ve ranted and raved.

And our dependable weekly evenings of food, drinks and celebration-or-venting have kept me sane when little else could.

In October, Jay assured me, “We are going to get you through this.” With her weekly visits, her healing connections, her delicious home cooked meals and her weekend getaways for Luba, I know she’s absolutely right.

Happiness is my long, strong friendship with Jay Schmidt.

About Andrea

Andrea Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer October 6, 2009 and intends to survive and thrive. You can read more from Andrea here.

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