I can’t say I knew John well, but his son has been a part of my life for half of it and for so much of that, my best friend. I can’t even say I knew John well, but his presence in my life provided a fewstrong and distinct memory.
Dan became a friend that I knew for my whole life from virtually the moment I met him. Hockey, baseball, the Dead: I had tons of things to chat about with a man 25 years my age.
The last time I saw John was at Tom’s wedding. John greeted me as a second son. He loved Tom and if someone was important to him, he was going to do his best to love him as well. John didn’t need a lot to be happy. A cold drink, some tasty meat and the people he loved would make him smile. He didn’t need much to make home smile.
Dan has this hockey game that involved picking the winners of each playoff series and talking some shit to each other. It’s a game his son introduced me to and Dan invited me to be a part of his league. It’s a game I look forward to playing every year.
The first time I hung out with John is a memory that will stay with me more than any other. You see, Tom and I had just turned 21 and John was happy to take us to the bar. We went to the top of the Landmark Inn, overlooking Lake Superior. And John bought us broke college students drinks. He wanted us to have fun. This was my first time meeting John but he treated me like he knew me forever. He became a friend instantly.
In jokes can take years to develop or in the case of Dan, an instant. The first time I hung out with Dan he demonstrated leadership in a way that authors spend years working on and it earned him the name Cap’n. Or at least I think that’s the story. It’s sort of lost to the annals of time.
This year, I lost my mom and two of my best friends lost their fathers. It’s pain that all of us will process and it’s pain inspired by memories of great people. Hug the people you love. Tell them you love them. Tell them every time you talk to them. John and Dan never met but im sure if they sat next to each other at the bar they would end up laughing and smiling. So today I’ll laugh and smile and be glad I had them in my life.