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Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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When Friends Leave

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Aloha all! Ya Bruddah Hank here. Sundays are usually my day to catch up on the never-ending list of household chores that my blushing bride, Daisy, seems to conjure up in her bid to keep me from going sailing with friends ever again. If someone can invent grass that stays green, never grows more than two inches, and repels weeds, I will gladly buy ten sacks of seed!

In addition to my chores (ugh), I took time to call, email, or text as many of my male friends as I could today. Here is a sample of real messages sent to real friends today:

“Dude, you still driving that piece of crap?”
“Yo, been a while since I told you your momma still dresses you funny”
“How did you score such a pretty wife, you’re the ugliest friend I have”
“Just saw your recent picture on FB, damn boy, you’re even fatter”

My wife was horrified as she saw the messages I sent and the expletive-laden responses I promptly received from everyone. She proceeded to lecture me about how I need to be kind to my friends and let them know that I love them and miss them so very much. I looked at her in disbelief, knowing that even after 16 years of marriage, she still does not understand that this is EXACTLY what I was saying to my male friends. If I tell one of my male friends that I “love and miss him,” chances are he’s going to think I’m in Hospice Care. I once slipped on the “bro code” and told one of my friends that I loved him. He started laughing and said: “Save that for the graveside speech.” I do love that man with all my heart, and I tell him exactly that every time I text him pictures of nice, expensive cars I pretend I’ve bought with the directive, “Suck it!” (He knows I drive an 11-year-old car with 218,000 miles and am too cheap to buy another car while this one still runs.)

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So, at great risk of shattering my stoic, macho facade, I must admit I’m sitting here typing with tears in my eyes. One of my dearest friends moved out of town rather suddenly. He didn’t tell me, and I didn’t ask why, but when people start getting their affairs in order and move in with their children, I know exactly what that means. He called me yesterday to let me know that he decided Florida wasn’t cool enough for him, so he left, but he called to let me know so I wouldn’t be shot if I showed up at his house to poke through his refrigerator as he’d sold it. We teased each other for a while longer, and when he said, “I’ll see you around,” my composure broke, and I ended the call as quickly as I could.

I know I’m not going to see him again. He’s 91 years old; he’s settled his affairs and left the area. I’ve only known him for the two years I’ve been in Florida, but he, his wife, Daisy, and I shared many meals and sat together for Passover Dinner. We even staged a mini protest by wearing our Kippahs at a function to remind the chaplain that God’s club includes us as well. (No one got the point, but some of my friends at the club were glad I’d found a religion that allows me to cover my bald spot. I use double-sided tape sometimes.)

My dear readers, The next time you’re sitting with friends, take a moment to just enjoy the moment with them. As my articles always say, Time is a thing that can never be taken back, and time is the greatest gift you can share with another. Keep in touch with those you love, both family and people who are like family to you. Let them know you appreciate them; share a beverage with them; go on a road trip. Heck, go to a political rally or sporting event, go kayaking, or go out to eat. Give them grief about their waistlines, their rapidly aging faces, and how ugly they look; laugh at their political positions; and at the end of the visit, bemoan the fact that you’ve just wasted an entire day that can never be recovered.

Indeed, let your friends know that you love them with all your heart and that without them, your life is diminished in ways you cannot begin to quantify, or tell them they look like crap. They’ll say you look worse. What a beautiful way of saying you mean the world to them as well.

Now go away! 😉

“Bruddah Hank” was born in Brooklyn but has lived all over the US and abroad. A deeply spiritual man yet circumspect person, he learned the most valuable lesson at the feet of a Hawaiian Kapuna: time is the only gift that can never be taken away. Spend it wisely.

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