Friday, July 16, 2010

I Lost A Friend This Week

I lost a friend this week. A good friend. The kind of friend the song “You Find Out Who Your Friends Are” was written for. There was never a time when I asked for his help and he wouldn’t be there. We were friends for over 35 years. We did some monumentally stupid stuff in our youth. We were reckless, irresponsible and we took chances, but we had our version of fun when we were together, and while we may have been reckless and irresponsible in our own lives, we were never bad people.

In spite of all the stupid stuff, Billy was a good person. He was a good and decent man. He was content with his station in life and I never heard him blame anyone for it. He was deeply spiritual without being religious and his understanding of Biblical history and End Times prophesy was encyclopedic.

He was born 100 years too late. He lived simply. He gardened. He worked. He fished. He played. He read a lot. In the last 10 years, he expanded his knowledge and worked overseas installing power generating devices at US Embassies. He spent Independence Day 2003 in Yemen with the Marine detachment, something that made me very envious. He called me from The Gambia and described the western Atlantic coastline of Africa a year later. I have the African carving he brought me hanging on my wall.

It had been awhile since I saw him last. I stopped by one day a few weeks back, but he wasn’t home. The one thing about being friends with Billy was, no matter how long it had been since the last time you saw each other, the next time you saw each other was just a continuation of the last time. Chances are you’d just take up the conversation right where you left off, like one of you had just stepped out for a head call. I’m going to miss that.

I used to drive a moving van back in my youth. Billy had never been north of the Rappahannock River. He used to say he’d get the shakes the further North he went, and he was convinced if he crossed the Potomac River chaos would ensue. I needed a hand with a load of furniture, and Billy was willing. I took him to Pennsylvania where I proceeded to get a lung infection. Billy literally carried me into the hospital emergency room that morning. After that, he was only willing to go south on the truck with me. So I took him to Florida the next time. We had a blast.

We worked together off and on for the next 30 years. He was the best help I ever had, without exception. He was a good friend all the time. He was with me the day I caught the biggest largemouth I’ve ever seen outside of a Bill Dance commercial. Billy said it was the biggest he’d ever seen come out of the little pond we were on, and he had been fishing that pond since he was 10.

We were together on 9.11.2001.

I’m going to miss not being able to talk to him.
Thank you for your friendship over the past three and a half decades.

Labels: , , , , ,



Blogger Bileez said...

I was stalking a friend's friend list, then a couple of friends deep I ran across a familiar name. Not sure if I know you, but this is an awesome piece and it made a little tear come to my eye...What a good friend indeed. Too far and way to few these days, eh?

May 02, 2013 4:13 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home