I was going to drive 3 hours to a celebration of life.
Dave had graduated 2 years ahead of me, but I knew him initially through a mutual friend. After a year of living on my sailboat, I sold the boat and started college. Along with another friend, we rented a 3-bedroom first-floor apartment on Jefferson Avenue. I was in college locally and our other roommate was across the Hampton Roads in Norfolk. My friend Dave who died had started his own business.
It wasn’t often we were together, owing to our very varied schedules.
But that year was the beginning of a lifelong friendship. Sometimes we would see each other weekly. After my wife, children, and I moved to New Jersey, sometimes it would be a year or more before we would see each other. We didn’t call each other or send mail, electronic or snail.
But every time we got together; it was as if we had never been apart.
I’ve said before that my friends are two miles wide. I have thousands of people whom I have shared a moment with. We’ve talked about the kids, their dog, their vacation, and their family’s trouble with Covid-19. But of those thousands of people, my knowledge of them is two inches deep. Thus, I do not have a circle of close friends that get together and go bowling or anything.
Dave and I played golf, hunted, fished, and enjoyed each other’s company.
There was never any pressure to be someone I wasn’t. In fact, just being myself, without any feelings of judgment made our time together special. Knowing he was there was always enough. And the times we had together are cherished memories. Dave and I were friends for over 46 years. Outside of family, I cannot say that I have known many people that long. 46 years is longer than the age of many of my current employees. But I digress.
Mostly I am skirting around saying goodbye to Dave.
And had I been at his celebration of life yesterday, I would have had a chance to share stories, reminisce, and say goodbye. I had gotten up quite early and was at the gym after 8 AM. When I returned home, my wife was sitting on the front porch. Usually, I go in before joining her on the porch. But today she stopped me and said, “I just got off the phone with our son.”
That morning, our grandson, my son, and my daughter-in-law had all tested positive for Covid-19.
And they were asking for our help to manage this development. This was 11:30 AM. After reviewing how long they would need us (our grandson will go back to daycare next Thursday), we decided we would stay until Wednesday evening.
Next was a call to work.
I am so blessed to have a boss, and other managers who understand and will help. So what if I owe someone an extra day off when I get back? They were able to work with me and give me the time needed to help my family. Thankfully the schedules all worked out and I was able to be off until next Wednesday.
Then it was onto the United website to see what flights were available today.
It was now 12:15 PM. United had a direct flight leaving at 5:05 PM, which I booked. Working backward, we figured an hour to park, get through TSA, and get to the gate. Then still working backward, it was a 2-hour drive to the airport. Allowing for a possible bathroom stop, I subtracted 2 ½ hours. Boarding for the flight was to begin at 4:40 PM.
Doing the math, we decided to leave at 1:30 pm.
This gave me and my wife 1 hour and fifteen minutes to get ready. I had one more call to make along with going online to rent a car. My son wasn’t going to be able to pick us up this time. My wife had to reschedule 3 appointments, then there was packing, showering, and getting the suitcases in the truck.
We found a spot in the parking garage at the airport with what felt like a lot of effort.
This was mostly due to our wish to already be with our family. Once in the airport checking bags was quick and thanks to our being “known travelers,” and having CLEAR, we sped through TSA to the gate. There was enough time before the flight to fill my water bottle and text our son that we were on our way.
Boarding the plane, I showed my grandson’s picture to the flight attendant.
She thought he was precious. (I always show my grandson’s picture to the flight attendants.) And as we got off the plane, she remembered my grandson and gave me a set of pilot’s wings to give to him.