There are lifelong friends. There are periods in your life when you are able to be really close to someone and then due to life and circumstance you don't see the person but you always expect to be close friends again.
Then you get a call from their wife that they are on hospice.
So I took the day off and drove to the coast to see my friend. He has Parkinsons' Disease. The crazy thing is that I should have taken the day off and gone to the coast a couple times a year for the past six years. But, there has always been something to do on my day off.
I made him a batch of CBD hemp and coconut oil which I fully expect to cure him. This was right at the beginning of the Chinese Curse. His wife brought him for a visit last year. I was going to visit him in June but there was a crisis. I have no idea what that crisis was.
I first met Mel when I worked for the Newport News Times. It was really my first real job out of college. He was the vocation mechanics instructor at Newport High School. He had put together a Pontiac Sunbird with a small block Chevy 350 and nitrus. I think it ran in the low 12's. It was driven only by students and had a lot of wins in the High School Drag Race series.
The drag race club, (a modern drag race club in High School is a completely different and rather embarrassing thing the doesn't involve cars or building personal self respect.) Was the nemesis of the News-Times due to the fact that no one knew anything about cars and pretty much looked down on "gear heads," like myself.
I made an evening appointment to interview Mel and was a bit nervous going to the appointment at his house. He met me at the door, shook my hand, invited me in to his kitchen and handed me a Henry's Private Reserve. He explained his good buddy had just blown himself work grinding on a asphalt tank in Montana and would I mind just having a beer with him and we could do the interview later.
We found a lot of things in common, mostly out of date things involving cars and personal attitudes, and became really good friends.
Since I have worked at the University I have not gone to see anyone. But before when I only farmed I did not work Sundays and my daughter would spend the weekend with him at the beach. I feel bad about kind of ignoring him for the past few years. Somewhat of an inexcusable thing but you also can see it in the lack of attention to this blog.
We had a good visit Friday. He didn't say much as it is hard for him to talk. I did get him to laugh with a slightly but appropriate off color comment. Of course our wives slightly looked disapproving but that is kind of what made it funny so it was all good.
This is a guy who knew how to do anything and knew something about everything. Everything from literature to sewing the fabric on a Hudson seat. I have never stumped him on any subject.
He also was a repository of Newport History. He knew how Chief Depoe got his name. He did open wheel car racing at the Newport Racetrack 40 years ago. Mel could tell you story of the local car dealer who rolled his car on 101 by the state park. He maintained a mining claim in Montana despite the determined efforts of the Forest Service shut him down. He went to the Barrett auction every year He sponsored students from Costa Rica and went back to visit them. (Took me a couple times.)
I think the only actually bad advice he ever gave me was that I should quit my job and got to Costa Rica with him and Carlos. But, he had so much faith that I was super smart and would instantly get another job that I don't think he could comprehend that I was a bit of a fraud. So, yes, Mel did have bad judgement.
I was talking to them about my job and the various amazing things my University has screwed up on and I realized I am seriously wasting my life working where I am not appreciated. His wife was pretty amazed at the non- negotiable vaccine mandate which probably isn't really legal. But then it did become apparent that she would be a lot more comfortable if I got the booster if I was going to spend much time visiting. So on our way home I stopped at the casino and got the jab. My arm hurts like hell today but otherwise I am fine. I am taking a lot of CBD so we shall see. I am not telling my university till the exact moment of the deadline.
I am also looking for other jobs. This is something I hate. It feels like failure. I somehow felt I could make a difference. We shall see what happens but I am done. I may be there another year but I am just like the other old guys. No longer emotionally invested. Probably for the best.
The loss of Mel is a tough one. He was someone who was always there.
The thing is I do have a few really close friends. I wouldn't say a necessarily have a "best friend," because I don't always keep in touch with people I value, but I have a few people I feel pretty close to so I suppose best friend is a rotating title. Mel was certainly my best friend for a number of years and then life brought differing paths.
Anyway, I have my new Tom Petty album and my vintage stereo and I am going to Church tomorrow and next week I am taking off work so I can give his wife a break (if she will let me) and thus I got my booster so I guess that is a statement of my values. Please and thank you get me every time regardless of what I want to do.
Have a nice day!
(I sincerely hope none of my readers die for at least half a year. It takes me longer to recover than it once did.)
Edit: You know I can't just check out. Since my choices are limited, I suppose I will end up staying for the year and a half before my kid graduates. I will focus on the people I work with and my text messages with the president. Will have to avoid a couple subjects I suppose. I probably should quit just so my daughter has to drop out of Cognitive NeuroScience degree. Click here to see what the degree is like at a real college. Or rather a full on Indoctrination Center instead of an Indoctrination Center posing as a Christian College. Psychology is the study of blame and rationalization. Although, I have found that telling a psych major that is somewhat counter productive...