So I have often learned that when you least expect it someone who you’ve known casually for a long time suddenly becomes a real friend. And that was my experience with my sweet-as-sugar friend Lenny.
My whole family knew Lenny for years as he was the bartender extraordinaire at my parents’ favorite restaurant. Not only did he know what we wanted before we did, as we walked in he would already have our soft drinks waiting at the bar for us. He is funny in that dry sort of way that is endearing, loyal as heck to everyone he cares about, devoted to his family, a great husband to Matt and the person you’d call in the middle of the night if your car broke down in the middle of nowhere. Like Mary Poppins, he’s practically perfect in every way.
A few years back we started to become friends and he was (and is) the kind of friend you can say anything to without being judged. He offers good advice and makes great suggestions. He calls me dollface when no one else does. He’s the ultimate go-to guy.
When my great kid went off to college in Las Vegas a few years back, I flew out there with him to help him move all of his stuff into his dorm and then, after a long and tearful goodbye (mostly on my part, as I was now officially an empty nester), I took a happy pill, got back on a redeye flight to New Jersey, cried most of the way back and went home to sleep.
And a few hours later I got a text from my buddy asking if I wanted to take a ride with him to go look at the fancy houses in the fancy neighborhoods that we’d never be able to afford. I desperately needed company and took him up on his offer. Off we went with no set destination, driving around, getting lost, critiquing the houses and talking about everything and nothing at all. We went out to dinner and he regaled me with great stories because he’s a born storyteller. After thanking him for rescuing me, I went home feeling so much better than I had when I woke up that morning. Although I felt alone, he made me realize that I truly wasn’t. I was surrounded by people who loved and cared about me and all I needed to do was reach out. My friend reminded me that day that when you have friends, you are never alone.
Thank you, Lenny. And please come back to New Jersey one day.