Received a text from friend. “Want to get together at Cassidy’s ( Hinckley MN) 5:00 p.m. on 2/12/17 ?” I saw the group listing. My amigos, my life long Pards, who God put in my way and I have been tripping over, thankfully, ever since. I knew there would be no other invitees, not for this. It had been 25 years since we four met at that restaurant to celebrate Valentines Day with our wives, me newly married. Sixty-six minus twenty five =Forty-One…prime time years. Now, we were on the final roller coaster curve, slanting into the off ramp with diminishing speed. Hell yes we would be there.
It would be a book. Nothing different than you’all I am reckoning. But what an amazing one. We are talking third grade to grey hair…slicing through life’s seasons and still being truly friends. It was a great night. Buttsy and Debby, Smitty and Lynn, Sam and Sue. Amy and me! The atmosphere was a warm water rinse of lathered hands after a day of hard work. Simplistic in measure…a hoodie against a cold breeze. No pretense as the need of facade had never taken hold. It would never have a chance…not now.
I was taken aback when Sam had us open gifts for each couple. There, on a background of a lake, his lake, was a poem, written “on the road.” He had premised that he had lost it years ago and I do remember looking for it in some area of my notes and writings, but it never appeared. I thought it gone. That is Sam…playfully tolerant. They all are characters (not our wives!) and each brought an element to make the whole. Not really to understand but to complicity be thankful. Billy’s immediacy of chuckled one liners, Smitty the author of Smitticisms: “don’t ask me, your the wordsmith, I’m just a Smith.” Solid in depth and all having one another’s back, even when years lapsed between handshakes.
“He came up to me at work, when we were together for those two years, and said he would see me later. ‘Yeah, o.k., see you tomorrow.’ And he said no, he was taking off.” (Smitty, Sam and Butts were married. I was the last.) “I said, where? And Wac said somewhere S.E. I knew that could be anywhere. And then he was gone. Didn’t see him for a year and a half. But I did get this poem.”
I am not sure where it was written, nor why. But It was. And here he produced it in a beautifully framed background picture, which in and by itself, invoked memories. And it ‘hit’ home. We were there, in the boat, any of the four of us, pursuing once more the crappies and sunfish that we so enjoyed fishing for.
Lost in thought, they drifted, lazily, uncaring.
Years, man’s depth finder echoed back sixty plus
as waves lapped sides, skull umbrellas pulled low.
Over hidden mysteries floated two, silent, unvarying.
Bobbers, anchored to the cane, high above unknown.
Been awhile, drifted the varying currents,
but back they were, youthful no more.
Test of eight gauged past, future, the prey, still unborn.
Wiser, not much, but learned could not but be
as pencils drew closer, excitement long since contained.
No other stirring on lake, alone to themselves.
Nature had hurt not, they had come to pay the final fee.
Descending hooks below, they readied technique of the skilled,
relaxed when called for, ridged when a must.
Slack taken up, hands tight on their rods
jerked high, pulled in, placed in basket almost filled.
Always, D 1978
What is truly amazing is a love shared. But more to each core are the amazing women who have stayed true to four nomads who never wavered from each other and covered them from life’s worst with a blanket of love given freely and openly. We four could not have been more blessed. And that stands the test of mortal time.
Cheers to all
and love with sunshine