A sad note for me personally. A friend of mine, who I admit I have not seen in over 30 years, has passed away. It doesn't make it any easier even though we lost contact. It's one thing when a parent of a friend passes. Sad but in the course of life, it is the way it should go. It has happened to me and to all my friends. If there is anyone left in my contemporaries families parental generation, they are in their late 80's or 90's. When people of your own generation start dying it brings things home. You begin to realize your own mortality.
His name was the same as mine, Paul. We shared another common thread, we both worked in a supermarket, in the same department. When our whole gang would get together in the basement of one of the guys parents homes, we would eventually pair off and start talking about the similarities of our jobs. And a note about my friends parents, they let us hang around in their basement. We always had music blasting, there were parties and lots of noise and yet they never bothered us, and there were times when the could of thrown us all out because of all the nonsense that occurred but they didn't. I guess they figured at least we know where they all are. This was the 70's, and we were all within a few years of each other age wise. We were not a bad group of people but we were young and had just come out of the '60s. There was drinking and various drug use. Nothing really bad by todays standards but I'd be lying if I said that none of that went on. There were a few infamous episodes like the Halloween/crazy foam (it came in a aerosol can) party which ended up being similar to a Three Stooges pie fight. There was also a similar party with silly string. It also came in a can. Both times only 3 people new about it before all kinds of silliness erupted. What mess that was but boy did we have fun! There was the night we decided to play hide and seek at 1 a.m. in the morning. The result? Somebody stepped on a pipe that fed oil to the furnace. Oil all over the cellar resulting in a visit from the fire department. Despite all this we were a pretty harmless group of guys and gals and I thank Lenny's parents for giving us this place to hang around. There were other stupid things we did, owing to the exuberance of youth. The night we put cinder blocks behind the rear wheels of Lenny's car parked in his driveway. He got in the car as we watched from the street. He put the car in reverse but it did not budge. What did Lenny do next? He stomped on the accelerator, the car rolled over the blocks and stopped with a very loud bang. We of course thought this was hilarious! Fortunately there was actually very little damage to the car though Lenny was less than thrilled with the gag. As I write this I am smiling at all the fun things we did. All the laughs we had. All of which brings me back to Paul.
Invariably when Paul and I were both present we talked about our very similar jobs. He worked for the biggest chain in the region, My company was the second biggest though we had more stores in the Boston area than they did. In fact we owned the area. That's where all the people are, about 4.5 million. As we began to talk somebody would invariably say, "Here they go. They're talking meat again."
As you age people get married, move away, start their adult lives. As I said I hadn't seen Paul in over 30 years though he was still local. He had moved to the city next to mine, one that bordered Boston. Several days ago my friend Dave, who I have remained in contact with since those days called me and told me of Paul's passing. And even though I hadn't seen him in years it still had an affect on me. He was a good guy. Never had a bad word about anybody, a hell of a good whist player, and though we went our separate ways years ago it doesn't change the sadness when one of your contemporaries leaves this mortal coil. Rest in peace my friend.