Ken and Myself a few short years back aboard "Halcyon"
I’ve been thinking of friendships lately. I suppose this stems from the new friends I’ve made here and the feeling of how lucky I am to have them. Sometimes we are blessed to have lifelong friends.
As I was growing up we moved a lot. My father was an officer in the Air Force, so the longest we stayed in any one place was three years. I made many friends across the world, but after I moved on it was hard to maintain contact. Letters would come regularly at first, then trickle, then stop. Most of my friends from growing up I’ve totally lost contact with.
Sometimes, though, we get lucky and a friendship blooms, is nurtured and becomes life long. I have been blessed by one such friendship. No matter where we are or how long it’s been since we’ve seen each other, we are friends and neither time nor distance can lessen these bonds.
I met Ken in 1978 when we both moved into the same apartment complex in St. Petersburg Florida within a week of each other. Ken was in the Air Force and stationed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, which was right across the bridge from our complex. I was a producer/director at WTSP-TV located just on this side of that same bridge. We were both married and had similar interests.
I met Ken after I had analyzed my transportation needs and purchased a motorcycle for my short daily commute to work. One week later, Ken went down to the same dealership and purchased his own motorcycle. His bike was bigger! We’ll go into that another time, LOL!
We started riding together, playing tennis together and fishing together. What a time we had riding those bikes all over that part of Florida with the ladies on the back seats. We stopped at out of the way hole in the walls, parks, attractions, and any establishment that had the word oyster as part of its title.
In sickness and health, family crisis and family deaths, we have always been there for each other. We didn’t live in that apartment complex for more than two years. Ken got transferred to Germany and my wife and I bought a house in St. Petersburg. We wrote occasionally, mainly at Christmas. Then three years later I get this phone call. Ken’s tour was up, he was back in St. Pete, and was getting out of the Air Force.
We loved fishing. I got a little Jon boat first. Then Ken got a runabout. I got a slightly bigger runabout and Ken went out and bought a cabin cruiser. You get the picture. We loved it! We fished the heck out of every boat we owned and left no island unexplored while we were at it.
Through the years our jobs and careers have changed and we have moved around at bit. However, we always kept in touch and took the time to visit every chance we got.
Ken is now a corporate executive with a company on the East Coast of Florida. He is a very busy man with a lot of responsibility and yet, he always takes a few minutes to chat when I call him.
I was going to take a week at the end of this month and go see him. We were going fish, laugh, and even share an adult beverage or two. Right now it looks like I’m going to have to postpone my trip. Again!
When we scheduled this visit originally, I did not know I was going to be moving into a new house at the beginning of this month. Well, life happens and I need to postpone. We are in the house but there is still too much to do. I am a little sad and I guess that’s the reason for this post. On the bright side… I will go later this year. I will not let another year pass without seeing my friend!