During my 20 years in uniform and my follow on career in Civil Service, I have had many good friends. Good, Loyal, generous shipmates, who would and have sacrificed their own well being to help me out! I have had friends stay loyal to me when I was a complete jerk! I have had friends stay by me when I was completely down and out. When I was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia, the out pouring of love, assistance, and companionship was heartwarming. I have thrown-up in friends back yards because of too much beer, called and canceled events at the last minute, and put my career and desires above my friends. Yet, my friends have always stood by me. loyally, and with love. They have even put up with numerous house changes, crazy ideas, and my big headed desire to be the smartest, the best, and first, even when I really was not. All in all, I am blessed to have such wonderful friends and it is a wonder, knowing me as I do, that any of them ever wanted to be my friend, well enough, stay my friend. The truth is, I love the people, mostly men, who call me, and I call, friends. Thanks! I don't say that enough. You know your names, Linda, Marcia, Lynette, Joel, Jim, Tim, Pam, Don, Jon, Al, Jerry, Ernie, Wayne, Barry, Steve, Phil, Rob, Doc, Phyllis, Troy, Zaldi, Mary, Fred, Art, Carlo, Ann, Bobby, Tom, Tommy, Dennis, Tracy, Andrea, Shirley, Ed, Paul, Rachel, Pete, Donna, Patricia, Bruce, and many names that I just can't recall at this time. If I did not list your name, please excuse me. I really do have issues with memory and it has taken 30 minutes to compile this list.
But, this posting is about a very special friend. You can have many friends, good friends, but to have a friend for 35 years, in the Navy, is a real blessing. My best friend Jerry is that friend! He is the person that is always there for me, anytime, anyplace. I have asked him to do some strange things, like drive all the way to Northern Virginia from Hampton Roads, see the "Nations Gun Show" and drive all the way back in one day! I won't do that again! We have put shocks on my pick-up in the driveway in the winter, put a roof on a big ranch house in the summer, and watched the three stooges install a window and a patio door. He has suffered my ego, and believe me it IS big, my opinions on everything under the sun, and my other quirks with a very special understanding. We have cried together over the deaths of our parents, In-Laws, and friends. We have walked the isles of more gun shows, car shows, and camper shows, than any two humans in the world. He is my best friend. My friend through thick and thin, sun and storm, and I would do anything in the world for him. Jerry, I thank you from the depths of my soul for your friendship and for the way you have included Linda and I into your family. I am the luckiest man in the world to have YOU as my friend. I love you, respect you, and I am proud of you! Thanks Pal!!