Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It Took 40 Years to Fulfill our Vow of Love

In 1972, we were sitting in the lunch room at Wind Point Elementary School exchanging cans of snack pack pudding and discussing the Green Bay Packers. You notice I said “cans” of pudding. Plastic containers were still in the research and development stage at that point in our lives.

In 1972, were carefree.  We were mischievous. We were not interested in academics, but we appreciated the social aspects of school. We kept things hidden in our lockers that would have caused the more sensitive faculty members at our school to blush. We were known to sneak off to smoke in the “woods” after school.  We were invincible.  At least we thought that was the case…

In 1972, I don’t think we gave any thought to the future.  Perhaps that is not entirely true.  I was going to be a wealthy entrepreneur with servants taking care of me at the sprawling manor where I planned to live. Some of my friends had plans to play for the Green Bay Packers professionally. You get the picture. We chose not to live in reality in those days.

In 2012, I sat in the lunch room with one of those same characters that I traded cans of  pudding with years ago.  But the lunch room today was not at Wind Point Elementary School.  We ate together in a lunch room at a nursing home in our hometown a few miles from that school.  I looked on my friend’s tray to see if there was any pudding in a can, but I suppose that was not on today’s menu. There was no trading today.

In 2012, my childhood friend is suffering from brain cancer. He can no longer eat without assistance.  His motor skills are not what they were 40 years ago. The illness has ravaged his body. We reminisced about antics that took place decades ago.  I took note of the fact that none of the nursing home employees going about their business were even born during the time frame we were discussing. That is probably a good thing. And statute of limitations is a good thing too…

In 2012, my friend told me he loved me before I left the nursing home after we had lunch.  I chuckled to myself, because our 5th grade teacher forced us to say those words to each other after we had gotten in a fist fight on the playground.  We adamantly refused, but she insisted.  Ultimately she prevailed and we said the words, but there was vengeance flashing in our eyes!   And I suppose I should include this little fact.  That took place in 1972…. It took 40 years to fulfill that vow of love we expressed to each other in the 5th grade.  I love you Steve.  And I promise Mrs. Shepherd is not looking over my shoulder. 

1 comment:

Heidi Sheckles said...

I am sorry for your loss John. Cancer rears its ugly head again. And it has taken another friend from you. I love how you have remembered each of them so eloquently. God bless you, and comfort you! Miss you! Come back to WI soon!
Heidi