Best Friend

As a child growing up in family that moved often, long lasting permanent friendships did not develop. There were play mates, class mates, kids you hung out with, but friendship required trust and mutual respect. If those things existed, then a playmate quickly becomes a friend and you form a lifelong bond.

Unless your parents yank you away from that friend, shattering that bond before you have a chance to say goodbye.

I have no friends from my child hood. There just wasn’t enough to hold onto once I moved on to keep tabs on those people. Chris and Jeff were my closest friends growing up in Minneapolis. But with Chris, there never really was the trust or mutual respect. Jeff and I were fairly close, but as I continued to grow, he remained behind, hanging out with the same crowd and doing the same mindless activities. He was a great guy, but I wanted more than just alcohol clouded weekends and ruminations of hangovers past.

Each phase of my adult life introduced more companions, but few became friends.

After getting out of the Army, my second or third job was shuttling lease cars around the twin cities. My partner in crime was Nick. Not long after we started working together, we started hanging out together. That job was a pit stop for both of us but we stayed in touch after moving onto other things. We remained friends until shortly after met Chris, then life lead us down different paths.

During my six years of driving truck over the road, I met many people. I drank in several bars with fellow drivers and complete strangers. Spends endless nights discussing the problems of the world on the CB radio. Sometimes with companions, others with complete strangers. Watch Fried Green TomatoesFriedGreenTomatos for the first time on a small TV in the drivers room of North Star Transportation with a bunch of burly truck driving men.

Matt made sure we all “Shut the fuck up! This is a damn good movie!”

In those six years and all those contacts, I made just a few friends.

Mike and I showed St. Cloud how to party one night. But our favorite topic of discussion was the nuances of our favorite rock singer’s vocalization techniques and whether we could emulate them or not. Geoff Tate of Queensryche was the challenge of the day. I still wonder to this day, what became of his life. He became a father and much to my surprise found it to be delightful. He was such a player until that kid came along. We lost touch as he spent more time at home in northern Minnesota and I eventually sold my truck.

Jeff and I kept running across each other as we boomeranged back and forth between here and New Jersey. There was the night at the bar outside of Toledo, OH. Then he was part of a group of us that went to lunch with some of the office staff. Eventually, we just started hanging out together. Jeff and I got each other back and forth between the east coast many times. We managed to stay in touch over all these years and you will find him as one of my Facebook friends.

2 comments for “Best Friend

  1. Lori Huber
    October 30, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    I am glad to see that you are keeping up with one of your many talents that you shared when we were younger. Never stop pursuing your dreams Bill. Life is too short. Call me sometime. I live farther north than you do.

  2. Christopher Stark
    November 7, 2014 at 11:40 am

    I’m not sure that the racial thing enhanced the story. The ‘risk/reward” I feel didn’t payoff. It had great entertainment value already and the racial anecdote actually cast a dark cloud on the story; despite your apology. Kinda like going out on a date with a good looking woman and having a great conversation, laughing, etc. And then she says, “Have you ever wanted to kill a puppy?” And you can’t get the dinner check fast enough.

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