Saturday, July 6, 2013

Our Best Friend, Bill


Bill West has been friends with Bob Russell since the fifth grade when the Russells moved to the Wellington area. That was 1953. Only a few months apart in age, they attended school together, joined the Boy Scouts, and became teenagers interested in cars, girls, and airplanes, not necessarily in that order.
When I came on the scene in 1971 Bill was married to Carol and they had two sons and owned their own home. Bob was married too but I was soon to become wife number two. When we married in January of 1972 Bill and Carol stood up for us at our wedding and hosted a party for us in their home that evening. Their boys became friends with my son, Patrick, and over the next forty years we have shared many experiences together as families.
Just this week Bill spent a few days in the hospital trying to get his erratic heart beat back in sync and it caught me by surprise, reminded me that I take Bill and his friendship with us for granted. I don’t want to do that any more, not with Bill or any of the people I love.
I feel lucky to be accepted by both Bill and Bob as their friend, someone privy to the conversations they often have ranging from astronomy and archaeology, to ham radio and bird migrations. I love the way their intellectual curiosity leads them to study science  and mathematics when a lot of guys are content with TV and beer. Watching them launch off on a new field of study is like watching a couple of Boy Scouts with their first telescope.
So Bill, if you read this, please know this is not written because I think you are on your last legs. Quite the contrary - you have taken very good care of yourself, golf several times a week, probably weigh the same you did in high school, and Lord knows your mind is sharp and your wit keen. I look forward to many more years of life, laughter, and good times with you. No, I’m writing this because I’ve never told you how grateful I am to you for your wonderful friendship. It is a rare gift. Thank you. You’ve done a lot of things really well in your life but none better than being our Best Friend.

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