Jim is one of my oldest friends. He and I met when my Dad married my Step-Mom, and we moved to Tempe.
I was starting the Third Grade, and he, the First. So, it’s been a few years.
Considering I came from a somewhat dysfunctional environment, visiting his house and family were a welcome relief.
Now that I think about it, I don’t think I ever heard yelling in their home. They were the ‘normal’ family on the block.
Jim was always kind of quiet, unless he knew you, then, he was a goofball. Fun, silly, a good guy to hang out with.
He blew us all away when, at the height of the Vietnam War, he announced he was joining The Marines! The Marines! I asked him why, he said, because he wanted to test himself, and the other services weren’t good enough. Considering his dad was a college professor, and his parents were traditionally liberal, this was quite a shock to everyone. He was so easy-going, I pleaded with him, don’t let them f**k with your mind! He said he’d not let them.
First liberty out of boot camp, and here’s Jim, squared-away, solid, beefy, now a combat photographer. And all he can
talk rant about is the f**king squids! (for the uninitiated, squid is a pejorative term used by others to refer to Naval personnel, especially by the Marines). So much for don’t let them mess with your mind!
Jim survived his tour-of-duty okay, and got over his animus toward Sailors.
Most of the parents on the block had lived through The Great Depression, and because of that experience, were frugal. Jim’s parents even more so, and, it rubbed off on Jim.
When it came to the daily, small stuff, Jim was so tight he squeaked. But, when any of us had ‘financial difficulties’, we could always count on him. Over a couple years, back in the 70s, he loaned me a significant amount of money, over a few hundred dollars. He never mentioned it, again. And, years later, when I was flush, for once, I paid him back. He was shocked, not that I’d paid him, but, that it was so much! He’d completely forgotten.
This is the same guy who, on a first date, complained the date asked for more tortilla chips (there was an extra charge, and he had coupons to use on the date!) I know this because I dated the same woman later, and she shared this with me.
But, I’m convinced to a certainty, if I called Jim at 0300, and told him I needed $4000, and couldn’t explain why, he’d be there with the cash as soon as humanly possible. And, probably not remember or bug me about it.
You’ve read before about my wealth of friends. I don’t know how, but, the ones I have are amazing. I’m proud to say Jim is one of mine.