In the 1960's and 70's we shared the six or seven years in a life young boys spend floundering their way to almost adulthood. Neither Jim nor I made this transition easy on anyone, including ourselves. We were the troublemakers and bad influences our friends' parents warned their children about. I remember resenting it then, but I will own it now. We asked for trouble, we found trouble and sadly some of our dumb ass friends got caught up in our madness. We each had our own reasons for being so angry, but angry teenagers we were.
The adventures we cooked up, the teen aged drinking, the drugging that we participated in, and the shared unwillingness of both of us to sit up straight and fly right ended with the two of us being sent to Charlotte Hall Military School in southern Maryland. Jim went a year before I did. When the Montgomery County school system booted me out, I petitioned my parents to send me to the same school Jim was going to. I figured I would have at least one friend.
We weren't total losers. We just couldn't stop pushing the boundaries we felt trapped in. We got involved in stupidity that today I just shake my head at and wonder how we did not kill ourselves. We got away with so much and still ended up living full lives. Well Jim dying at age 67 may not be considered a "full life"to most folks, but let me just say that anyone who really knew him knows he was lucky to have lasted that long, which the begs the question, how is it I am still breathing?
So I am wondering why I am so focused on a friendship that lasted barely a decade fifty plus years ago that ended with a serious bad taste in both our mouths. I guess I am not so much sad at Jim's passing, but maybe more that I wish I had done more to mend the rift between us. I probably will not miss him in the future, but I sure will miss the friendship we had and then ruined.
Rest in Peace old friend. Be kinder to yourself wherever you are now.
I found this tune the night I found out Jim had passed. Coincidence? Who cares? If the tune fits, play it. "Too Old to Die Young" - Brother Dege