Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Friendship Begins in Loonville

Warren invited me to visit a local meeting of Lions International as his guest. I met two dozen citizens I had not previously known, and encountered several I had already met in the community. I liked the experience. Without going into detail, I will tell you that I "passed muster" and became a member of this group.

I met Phil at Lions, though I was certainly to have "business" with him as he acted in his professional capacity, for he was principal of the local elementary school. And I had kids. Phil could be fairly described as a feisty individual, not large of physical stature, sandy hair, and peering at the world through coke-bottle lenses. He affected a cookie-duster mustache, just enough to be called a mustache. I soon discovered that Phil and his family were thick with Warren and his trible. Soon I had been admitted into this orbit, and we became the Three Musketeers of Loonville.

When Thursday evenings rolled around, there were six adults and eight kids gathered at the home of one of the Musketeers. Good food, good conversation and lots of laughter kept this routine alive for so long as I lived in Loonville. We had much in common, though our professional lives differed, if not in calling, at least in the stage on the ladder. But we saw the basic requirements for proper living in very much the same light. Yet from the religion angle, we were a fundamentalist, a traditionalist, and a free-thinker. We got along famously, because, though we did not agree on many things, we harbored deep-seated respect for each other's right to formulate and express his own opinion.

Our sessions together were not gossip sessions as such, but inevitably our friends and neighbors contributed to the conversation, because in Loonville, well, how could they not?

Warren had a most interesting manner of speaking. He would make leaps from point A to point D, for example, without ever touching B and C. Until one got used to this, it seemed at times that he was dropping non sequiturs into the conversation. Phil and I both recognized that Warren could think so much faster than he could talk that it was up to us to learn to follow portions of "unspoken conversation." And since we could, in fact, do this, our bond of friendship grew ever stronger.

Even after I moved from the community, our friendships continued so long as we were all alive. Warren moved to the southern part of the state to become president of a bank overlooking the Ohio River. Phil remained in Loonville until after the death of his wife. My spouse was the first to pass away, followed shortly by Phil's wife. Then Warren's wife became terminally ill, and after a long battle, she too, was no longer with us.

It is almost incredible to believe, but the paths of our lives bore great similarity even after our respective tenures in Loonville were long past. Warren retired from the bank, married a widow lady and moved to a small acreage near I-65 north of Louisville. Phil remarried, and moved to Indianapolis with his new bride. I also married for a second time, and continued to live in Perfect.

We saw each other from time to time and always picked up right where we left off. Phil was the first to depart the group, and Warren and I met in Indianapolis to attend his funeral. Several years later, I got a call from his wife telling me that Warren had literally passed away along the berm of the road as he and his dog were on their morning walk.

Phil, Warren, I miss you guys.

© 2010 David W. Lacy

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