Saturday, August 10, 2013


There is truth behind so many aphorisms--"Life isn't fair," "Bad things happen to good people,"--and the like. The hurts and shocks come about to young and old, and the soft, sweet Hallmark moments are rare.

Humor is a wonderful way to cope, and some have that creative gift. Some of us don't. My friend Jerry has it, and he needs to use that gift to its utmost right now as we all grieve the loss of a wonderful woman, his wife Pat, after a long fight with cancer.

Jerry and Pat deserve all the friends they have earned over the years. Truly wealthy folks in that best form of wealth. Linda and I are so honored to be in that group, and it just dawned on me that Jerry and I first became acquainted at UNL 50 years ago this fall. Half century of friendship is good, but it is not enough.

We were then at that age when so much is new, so much needs to be discovered and the hurts, slights and difficulties are fresh wounds with an exquisite quality. And so it goes, we develop ways to go on, to cope. As we become more seasoned, we have those tactics to rely upon when tragedy hits.

I have known only a few people who have the ability to come up with a clever response, or to entertain with words. Jerry has that ability. Most of us compose the good quip when the time is long gone, and timing is everything. "Oh, yeah, I shoulda said..." Fortunately, there is a place in this world for those of us who lack brilliance.

His friend, Dave, lives down the street and has been showing up at the house three times each day to offer support during these times. A good friend, good therapy. He was there, left, and another friend in the neighborhood stopped by, noticed the red-rimmed eyes and said, "Get on your shoes, we are going for a walk."

Their route took them past Dave's house and Dave roared out the door to greet them carrying one of those airline bottles of booze, half empty. "I don't drink scotch, just beer, so I thought I would let you have it."

Jerry examined it, determined it was Irish whiskey, not scotch, also noted that it was half empty. Removed the cap, dramatically threw it over his shoulder and downed the whole thing at once! Barely enough to dampen all your teeth.

"It's the least I could do," Dave said.

Jerry gasped, "Ahhhh," gave Dave a long look and replied, "Well, very nearly so."

They all collapsed in laughter, coping.

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