A decade ago the wife and I tripped to Phoenix for a 50th wedding anniversary.
The Wife had known the family all her life, but there was no room at the inn. We were told that we were staying at their friend's home- which caused us so much concern that we pulled off the freeway a few miles from their house to have a drink.
My cell phone rang and it was Doug, calling to ask where the hell we were.
"Why are you drinking there when you can drink here?" He asked. We chugged our drinks and left for their place.
Within the hour we met our new brother and sister.
Doug and Joy became our immediate friends. Doug and I bonded in those first few minutes. I really can't explain it any other way - but to say we became family that day.
Over the years we were only able to enjoy each others company on a few occasions. Meeting and laughing in Huntington Beach. Riding bikes to Newport- celebrating his lovely daughter Nikki's 21st birthday at the beach...
But that bond between us was rekindled the minute we grasped hands and hugged.
In my life I have been very lucky to have life- long friends from grammar school, but this friendship was made of special stuff. A real and true blessing.
Tuesday morning, I started the day with what I call a 'rock and walk.'
The morning was a typical Indian summer, the sun high in the sky and just the right temp for a good sweat. After cooling down, I took a bike ride and noticed that the windy conditions were at bay. I returned home and grabbed my kayak as the harbor and ocean were glass-like. And the clouds ... magical!
Just this last week we informed Doug and Joy that our motor- home journey included definite plans to visit - so a " be ready, message as this entails serious partying was sent."
His text back was typically simple; " Oh Fuck. "
" No, really," we texted. We are coming this time, as former plans did not turn out.
His reply again was simple;
"Oh Fuck. "
Then, with his uncanny ability to make you feel welcome, he simply stated,
" We can't wait ".
Tragically, my friend - my brother - passed on Tuesday as a massive heart attack claimed his soul.
I was out on the ocean enjoying an incredible afternoon and sunset.
I now feel as if he were saying goodbye. He loved the ocean, he loved sailing and was a truly good friend to those around him... even when not convenient.
Here is my promise, my brother; I will never experience another spectacular sunset without giving you credit for bringing it my way.
We will meet again Doug, but not yet.... not yet.