Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Worst Kind of Friend, the Best Kind of Friend

Let me start this post with a trite truism: "The worst kind of friend is an old friend with a perfect memory." Unfortunately, I have many such friends. Recently, a very dear friend from high school, Greg Baker passed away. A mutual friend, Mark Wittke was passing through Yakima last week in his 18 wheeler on his way to heaven-knows-where and was kind enough to take some time off work to go to lunch with me. We reminisced about Greg and some very crazy things that happened during the lunacy of youth which I thought (and perhaps hoped) had long been buried and forgotten. No such luck. Mining the catacombs of our memories and retelling various events and experiences was wonderfully nostalgic, that is until I realized my wife and family have not likely heard these stories,and more importantly, must never hear these stories, no matter the cost of nondisclosure.

Now Mark and I parted ways after high school when I went away to college, but at one point in life we were close friends and spent a lot of time together so naturally I am going to appear in some of his crazier stories even though I was not playing one of the main characters--at least that's my story and I am sticking to it. We mostly talked about Greg and his genuine way with people. Despite his physical challenges he was so supportive and upbeat, the kind of friend that everyone needs. He will be sorely missed by many.

As many loyal readers of Darrell's Yakimania well know, my memory is less than perfect (I remember only what I think I really need to remember, which is mostly based upon what is convenient and beneficial to me!); unfortunately, Mark's memory seemed pretty darn accurate. A chance to reminisce about the insanity that occurred in the environs of South State Street in Salt Lake City circa 1975 was really awesome. After our lunch ended and we both hurried back to work, I had some time to think about our lunch and had the sense that whatever the risks of revealing to my wife and children the embarrassing events from the memory bank of an old friend was well worth it when I considered the absolute joy associated with being with an old friend and remembering, retelling and reliving a very spirited youth and the genuine friendships that we enjoyed; friendships which in many ways continue to shape and influence who we are today.

So a very special "thank you" to an old friend for taking the time to call because it reminded me of a more important truism: "The best kind of friend is one who is willing to take the time to call an old friend." Regardless, Mark is forbidden from ever repeating these stories in front of my wife and children. (They still believe that nonsense that my fake front tooth was due to a biking accident....Whatever!)