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David Died Last Month

I just found out. My first wife saw an obituary in the newspaper and told my daughter so my daughter told me. I haven’t seen Dave in about fifteen years. Before that, I saw him every week but before the every week time I didn’t see him for about five years. We were as close as brothers for some time. When he was thirteen, I was sixteen. Our family homes were across a side street from each other. It was a ‘T’ junction with my home on the south corner facing west and Dave’s home was on the north corner facing west. Our back yards paralleled each other with the side street between us.

When we were young, so were the hedges that edged our yards. They were only about a foot high, so we each stood in our yards and tossed the hardball back and forth over the street. There was very little traffic. Dave sometimes referred to himself as ‘high strung’. I don’t know what that means, but it sounds like something to do with a guitar or violin, not a person. He was not ‘regular’, that much I can tell you.

It seems like David was ‘emotionally disabled’ if such a thing could exist. He lacked tenacity completely. If some activity became frustrating, Dave simply gave it up. He had no fight in him to struggle to achieve his goals. Even a difference of opinion on a neutral matter was difficult for him to overlook. If a friend was a fan of a given team, let’s say the Detroit Red Wings, and Dave was a fan of a different team, let’s say the Chicago Black Hawks, Dave became furious about it. He would tell the friend that he had no sense at all. How could he favour the Red Wings over the Black Hawks?

Each spring a large ravine a block away filled with water. David and I would build a raft and try to float around without tipping or sinking. We never succeeded. We had to hurry home soaked and cold every time. We tried rolling cigars out of oak leaves – another failure. We once spent a New Year’s Eve together and celebrated by eating a whole quart of ice-cream each, right out of the container.

Perhaps I will share more of my memories about Dave another time. There’s too much rushing back to my consciousness now. In spite of the negative description I’ve given, he was actually a terrific guy. He was nice looking and many girls were attracted to him. He loved horses and was a very skilled rider and horse manager. The best thing about David was his humour and his wonderful gift for sharing humorous stories. We’d gather at his place, about half a dozen of us, and just talk and smoke and talk. We all did pretty well in the story-sharing department, but David was a master.

I’ll gather more memories as they come to me and perhaps tell more about him.

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