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Close friend far away

Jan. 9, 2004

Dear Joey,

I’ve seen about fifty people the last week that looked like you. Only fifty, I say, because the week before I saw seventy-five. Could there be that many people that look like red-bearded, red-haired Joey F. in this city?

Probably not. I can’t imagine anyway. You’ve just been on my mind a lot lately. I even saw a Columbian paramilitary leader on the TV that was the spitting image of you. It made me laugh out loud. I thought of you in your army gear, wrecking tanks and what not. But mostly, I’ve been thinking of you and the kids and the wife, and how we haven’t seen enough of each other these last few years.

That’s what happens when you grow up, they tell me. That’s what everyone–I mean everyone–keeps telling me. People get their own lives, they keep saying. People have things to do that don’t connect anymore with the way things were twenty or thirty years ago.

It’s hard for me to accept that. Sure, I’ll give you people change, get busy, run on with kids and wives and husbands and jobs. But, hell, they get on with a lot of other stuff, too–model airplanes, painting pictures, watching TV, hiking in the woods, and finding new fishing holes.

When we grow up, it’s good enough to hold on to those snippets of good and bad things from the past. Remember the joys and the pains, because it’s no good just to remember the good stuff. And think of each other. Wish each other well, sort of like prayers, even when the other’s far away.

God knows I think of you often enough and hope you get to be fine old man who hoes in the garden and sits on the beach twice a year when it’s too damn cold to chop wood.

I tell people I see my friends all the time, friends like you, Joey, when I close my eyes and dream of how things were and how they might be if they weren’t as perfect as they are now, or if they were a different kind of perfect altogether.

Stay in my dreams and keep growing up. I love you–that never ceases.

Your friend,
Rev. Patrick

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