My best (male) friend

When I’m feeling blue I put the top down, buy a beer, and take a drive into the country.  “Road beering” we used to call it.  Don’t try this at home kids.  Usually I drive by my old house.  We had it made.  Three acres in the country.  Backed up on a 300-400 acre tract of woods.  Across the street from a golf course.  Deer, rabbits and turkey (and black widow spiders and Copperheads) occasionally  in our back yard.

Craig  helped me paint that big bastard of a house.  Three stories.  He did the hard parts, like throwing a rope over the top from one side and scaffolding down the other to get the top dormers.   He helped me to finish off the top story into a rec room, a fifth bedroom and a fourth bathroom. 

Craig dropped out of college after one semester.  He can’t read so good.  He is dyslexic.  But he can fix anything.  He is fearless. Except for transmissions. He won’t do those. He does plumbing and heating and air conditioning.  He fixes anything to do with cars. 

Once we konked out on a mountain in Virginia headed home from deer hunting while pulling a camper.  The major belt that runs, well, everything on a Ford F-150 came off.  This was after mid night on a Saturday.  Fortunately Craig and his son were following us.  We found the nearest truck stop, bought a couple of them (can’t remember the name of it–“universal belt”?) belts, and went back and Craig changed the durn thing while I stood helplessly by trying to slow traffic down on that steep and winding road.  We made it back safely, albeit about four hours late. 

Craig and I don’t talk much. We do things together.  Our idea of a good time is having his family and mine get together while I cook steaks on the grill and my wife cooks everything else, then watching a video afterwards.  We don’t have deep conversations and share everything that we feel, our deepest desires. Our wives do that.  We go hunting, and shooting, and fishing together.  We used to go diving and boating, but not so much anymore.  But Craig does not really enjoy doing recreational stuff.  He likes working the best. 

Craig is my 911.  Whenever something goes wrong with my house, including the AC, the plumbing, the car, the boat, the electricity, shit, even changing a lock, I usually can’t figure it out, so I call him. 

He lives to work.  I used to dread having him over to work on my upstairs.  I’d prefer to work a few hours on a Saturday, knock it off early, then catch a few beers. Not Craig. He wants to work until past quitting time.  He puts in a hard day as a maintenance guy for a place you’ve all  heard of, then his idea of a good time is fixing something for somebody.  He fixes everybody’s car, home or office.  He’ll be out working on somebody’s car at 10:00 at night.  On those occasions when it has been mine I’ve always tried to dissuade him from working so late.  But I’ve realized that he loves it. 

Me? I’d sooner have a wisdom tooth pulled than work on my car.  I lose my temper. It takes me 10x longer to do things than it does him.  He just plods along. When he nicks a knuckle or loses a bolt inside the belly of the beast, he just sort of sings the same old tune: “Do do doo.”  I don’t even think it is a real song.  I could sing you the notes, but I don’t read music.  It is slow, and seems to calm him down.  Me? I’d be throwing a wrench and cussing up a storm.  He just keeps on plodding along, and he gets it done right in about a 1/10 of the time it would take me. 

I’ve tried to keep up with all he does for me. I pay him. I have  his family over for meals.  I’ve done legal work for him. 

But I owe him more than I could ever pay.  But it isn’t like that. I don’t like him because he does shit for me.  I usually try to talk him out of doing stuff for me.   I admire him for who he is. He reminds me of my grandfather.  They would be the spitting image of each other if they had ever met. I am blessed to have known both of them.   

Warning: This was composed in a hurry after I got home from another nostolgic drive.  It was over a hundred degrees, the sun and the beers have gone straight to my head, and I’m still feeling blue.  So don’t take it too seriously.  🙂

John Doe

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