Yesterday’s anniversary of the murders culminates about six weeks that tend to be difficult for me each year — both my parents’ birthdays, their wedding anniversary, and the death of my closest childhood friend all fall within that window as well. And because I’m the person I am, I frequently find myself thinking about all those people as I go through my days.
One aspect of that is that I’ll feel a sudden strong interest in parts of their lives. For example, this year I was wondering about friends of my folks (and their kids, with whom I’d hang when our parents get together. As part of that, I re-established contact with my Dad’s best friend and his wife, via the Book of Faces.
Dad and Doug met in junior high school in East Nashville, although they went to different high schools. I’ve mentioned this before, but Doug told me that the first time he saw my dad, he had a copy of a weightlifting magazine in his back pocket, but was reading Swedenborg. (Again, junior high.) And they remained friends in that way that guys often do (or did pre-Internet), spending spans of time essentially out of contact, but picking up wherever they left off when they’d get together.
In any case, I found a picture of Doug with my dad from my wedding reception in 1993, and I stuck it on Doug’s FB page last night. Shortly thereafter, Doug’s wife (of whom I wrote not long ago) commented: “They were friends and good souls together since they used to sneak into a closed public library and spend the night reading.”
And as I read that, I couldn’t help first smiling, and then laughing, because that sounded so perfectly like I imagined my dad as a kid — the thinking man’s delinquent (he told me about being roughed up by the cops a couple of times as a teen), a kid from the projects engaging in what was technically burglary, if not B&E, so that he and his best friend could hang out reading all night, and covering their tracks on the way out so they could do it again another time. Party on, guys!
And that idea pleased me so much that I had to tell the Spawn about it — her reaction was about the same as mine: “That’s so cool — and so nerdy!”
“Yeah, that was Dad.”
And so yesterday was tough, as it has been now for nearly a decade. But I still went to bed smiling.