Today I'm writing about a life-long friend. One I've known since first grade. That's 66 years ago.
Henry, I'll keep his last name private, was the kind of friend we all would like to have. His exterior was rough as 60 grit sandpaper, but inside, he was pudding.
He would bend over backwards to help a friend, and his generosity was endless. He wasn't a rich man, having had a difficult life from childhood. I know as we grew up in the same neighborhood, and attended the same schools.
He served his country in Vietnam as a combat medic. For those who don't really know what that is, let me explain. When the helicopters were coming in to evacuate soldiers from a "hot" battle field, he was getting off to treat those who were wounded.
Like many of us who served there, he came home to ridicule and disdain, yet he was not discouraged. He found a job and worked in a local industry until, like others, they closed. Still he was not discouraged.
Eventually, he received a disability from the V.A., and it was rightly deserved. Since that time, he provided for his children, and helped his friends. He was the person you called if you needed some assistance with almost anything. I know he was there for me on a couple of occasions, and he knew that I was there when he needed some help
Last Friday, my dear friend peacefully passed away in his sleep. For those of us that are baby-boomers, 71 is still young. For others, we are just some "old people."
The real sadness of this is that there are others in our community, much like my friend who go unknown, and unappreciated. Life is short, so cherish those who are close to you.