I lost a friend this week. It was a friend I never met, but who made me smile every day.

You see, every day I drive to and from work the same way, and to and from lunch the same way. I drive right by my friend’s house.

I would bet you have driven by that house, too. It sits across the street from the tennis courts at Harmon Park.

In the lawn of my friend’s house sits a tree that was cut down and turned into a house for gnomes. Yes, gnomes. Every day I drove by and smiled at the whimsy of my friend. Those gnomes made my day.

Lately, like for the past six months, I had the intention of stopping by just to let my friend know that the gnomes make me smile. They make me happy. I never did. I never sent a note. I never stopped with cookies. I never — and now it’s too late.

I drove by Wednesday and my friend’s family was moving things out of the house.

My point: Don’t wait to tell someone that they make you happy. It is too late for me, but it isn’t for you. If you see someone who makes you smile, please let them know, or better yet, give them a gnome.

Happy travels to my gnome friend, and to you!

Tori Stofferson, Kearney