Posted by: guinness222 | January 1, 2018

“Friends are your choice,…..Value them highly” – “Over the Hill Part -2”

Friends are hard to find,…..that’s a fact! Sometimes they go back to childhood, …got a couple of them,….but more likely as the old adage goes, “God gave you your relatives, ….but you can choose your friends!” One of the most sage pieces of wisdom ever spoken.

I met this friend over 13 years ago, we both used to stop in the same neighborhood bar, along with another friend, who has since passed away.  He was a big catalyst to our friendship, ….as well as helping what friendship really means, and what you would do for a “friend”, without any further question!

Suffice it to say, as readers will remember, I managed a retail store in one of those “mega-mall” Outlet Centers. Our passed friend was named “Mikie” ( his real name), and it was through “Mikie”, that I meet the other  Mike , a charter member of my “true friends”club.

We both liked playing chess, we both loved our military time and service, (not old war stories, but honoring our “debt” to our country for our freedoms and that of our children, siblings and the future) we both loved life, and were not so much conscious of what it brought, but learned just how many few REAL FRIENDS a person can add to their personal list of “real friends” in their life.

As a matter of fact we used to play chess at the local pub, (I beat him once in the hundred or so games we played),…..he was not only good, but a real GrandMaster at the game! (Being a Pub in the area of LA “lower Alabama”, or the Florida panhandle) folks used to come over and say things like “Those are strange lookin’ checkers”, and “Is that some kind of new game y’all are playin’?”

Our friend “Mikie” added the “comic relief” to our budding friendship, as Mikie was the last of the real “Woodstock generation”, or, as Mikie I’m sure plagerized from somewhere, “If you remember Woodstock,….you weren’t there!” (If you don’t understand that comment drop me a line and I’ll explain it for you!).

I know Mikie knew how to play chess, but he loved “playin’ Dumb” and watching Mike and I play.

As life has it, we all move on, Mikie passed away about a year and a half later, and Mike had a really tough break and he too, moved on,….but we kept in touch, via facebook, and a lot of the other “lifelines” friends use to just keep track of each other “without being invasive”. Just being sure a “friend “ was doing ok.

Mike had some personal situations, and had to move on with his life. He and my wife Barbara were both of Polish/Ukrainian heritage, and they struck up a friendship as well. We had him to dinner, he had us over for dinner, and we all kidded around together, but even she asks me “How’s Mike doing?”, occasionally.

Mike had been a real Army Ranger”(closest thing to a SEAL, that can’t swim well”- an old Navy slam, but lovingly meant as they are just as “badass” , and the real deal, he had retired after about 12-14 years,  and gone into professional protective services, as well as staying open to “independent options”.

Read as “independent contractor”, as the military started “scaling back” our involvement in the “Eastern European situation” region, and the “ Middle Eastern” areas. I never asked, and he never really told me anything specific,….but he was there for sure, and since we’ re both getting older things become a little clearer. He filled in his “out of Country gigs” with reasonable “regular jobs”. At one point he was either the head of the detachment, or senior guy for one of the most important United States Diplomats since the end of WWII. But also a personal “body guard” for our ambassador in the Bosnia/Herzegovina “situation” in the 1970-90 era. But never talked much about experiences, with the exception that he “had to  carry “X’s” daytimer for him “so he didn’t have a bulge” in his pocket!

He truly was a REAL person, AND MY FRIEND!

Some time ago he packed it in, at our little “ vacation kingdom” and moved to Las Vegas. We checked each other’s welfare via face book postings, and that occasional e-mail back and forth.

About a month and a half ago he sent me a note that he and his parents and siblings all wanted to “go to the beach” for Christmas so he’d be here between Christmas and New Years and would like to get together to check that “we were all “doing ok”!

He called two days ago, and we set a date and time to get together “for a beer”, and catch up,…….and that we did yesterday.

Got to sign out and go back to “real life” but stay tuned for the next update in the next week or so, and really see what real friendship is all about!! (Or what I can tell you without breaking confidences with a “Real Friend”!

-30-

January 1, 2018


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