I have a buddy that I met back in 1996. I knew from the first time I met him that he was a unique character. He reminded me of a close friend of mine at the time actually, as the similarities were very obvious. They also shared very similar mannerisms. In fact, these two friends were from the same family, though five years apart in age.
My buddy wasn’t one I was extremely close with, but we did see each other here and there around the neighborhood. As life played out its ongoing cycle, circumstances changed and my buddy moved away. The move didn’t take him extremely far, but we did lose contact. I heard about him from time to time and sometimes wondered how he was doing. You know how that is, right? You’re away from a buddy for a while, then you suddenly think about how they’re doing or whatever. As time passed on, I met a couple new friends.
Several years passed before I saw my buddy again. We were at the lake one weekend and he showed up for a visit. He looked the same, but had aged a little, as we all do. Being a seasonal worker, long days in the sun had weathered his skin a little bit, plus he was beginning to go grey, but he was obviously still in great shape. The visit was nice and I was happy to see him once again.
A few years passed, as did a couple other friendships. Things change. Friends move on. Circumstances, you know? Then one day I heard that my old buddy had moved once again. He moved about an hour away from his last location and had found a place in a more industrial area of town. I decided I wanted to try to make contact with him to see how he was doing. As luck would have it, a mutual friend of ours mentioned that my buddy was wanting to move once again. He really wanted a place with a garage, as his current location was limited to outdoor parking. The timing was great because I was thinking of finding another tenant, anyway. I wanted to help out and decided to offer him room to stay at my place. I talked it over with Monica first and it was decided that I would move my truck outside so he could use the far side of my garage.
Moving day arrived and another friend and I drove the few hours to help our old buddy move back to town. Everyone was excited that bright and sunny day. As I rounded the corner to the street where we were supposed to meet, my pulse jumped a bit as I saw my buddy sitting beside the road from about half a block away. Upon arrival, I must admit I was a bit alarmed when I initially saw him up close, as he was showing quite a bit more grey than the last time I had seen him. It confirmed that he was suffering from some kind of skin condition. However, I was reassured when I spent a few minutes with him and could see under the surface that he was still in good physical shape. We quickly packed up whatever items had to be packed, stopped at a gas station down the street, then headed for home.
The journey back to my place was good. The drive was pleasant and gave us some time to reconnect. As we cruised along the highway that sunny day a couple years ago, we caught up on life’s little issues and discussed plans for the future. Though he was still able to run quite well, he expressed interest in wanting to get back in shape, as he was feeling a little tired and worn out in a couple areas. I told him I would be glad to help out when and where I could, but he would have to be patient – my wife and kids are priority. He understood completely and with that we continued down the highway to my place.
Well, at the time of this writing, it has been two and a half years since my buddy came to live with us and he’s still here. I’m glad he’s still here, actually. I’m just a bit disappointed that he never did get in shape (to date) as we had planned. Part of it is my fault, as my life took a dramatic turn a while ago and I wasn’t able to help my buddy as I had wanted. But as good friends are, he’s patient. He knows it will happen one day and that’s good enough for him. I refuse to give up on him and kick him out. I will help him one day get in shape and do the best I can to cure his ailments. It would just be nice sometimes if I could park in my frigging garage.
Below: My buddy in my garage. As you can see, he’s showing quite a bit of grey up front, but still in good shape!