What follows may have no opinion…I’m not sure.
Best I can recall, I’ve seen my father cry twice.
Once when his mother died.
Again, when his best friend recently died.
I never really thought of my father as having a best friend.
Growing up, there was a family that either visited us or we visited them for as long as I can remember.
I recall his friend as always laughing. A big laugh.
In fact, the two of them together always laughed.
It was actually pretty ridiculous.
Be it the grocery store, the beach or the fanciest restaurant…when they were together, you could count on at least one episode of a laughter outbreak.
But…this wasn’t simply laughter.
This was gut busting…
Getting light headed…
Pure, ridiculous laughter…over generally – nothing.
My father and his friend (and spouses) vacationed in Florida every year.
I had dinner with my father’s best friend about 3 weeks ago when I was in town for business.
He died 2 weeks later.
My father spoke at his funeral, and I learned some more.
I learned that…on their last trip to Florida, my father’s best friend said to him, as they strolled the beach…”you know, you are my best friend…and this may be out last trip to Florida”.
My father’s best friend had that piece-of-shit thing we call cancer.
Just before the funeral, my father asked if he could practice his speech on me.
We went into the chapel, but the organist was practicing, so we found another, smaller room.
One slight choke up, but dad made it through.
There were Army buddies.
They were life-long friends.
They spoke on the phone every week for over 40 years.
I’m thankful I got one last dinner with him.
I’m also thankful to see…
To see that my father had a best friend.
It just never really occurred to me before.
At the funeral, my mother told me I may have to go up and finish the speech.
My father got up there and did as he usually does…he improvised and nailed it.
One slight burble…then his honorary salute.
I didn’t have to go up there.
Dad finished strong…in his honor to his best friend.