So the guy I know the longest in my life is Jimmy. We met in college where he was friends with my gone-and-forgotten ex-husband and he immediately charmed me. He is the most personable human being you could ever hope to know and can and will start a conversation with anyone and everyone. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gone places with him far from where we live and we’ve run into someone he knows. He can make me laugh like no other, usually by singing some crazy song or impersonating The Godfather or regaling me with stories of his family, especially those about the escapades of his dear brother, Arthur, who passed away far too soon. He drove hours from far out on Long Island to come to my Dad’s wake for just a few minutes and is the person who could make my father (his best friend, Vinnie, as Jimmy always refers to him) laugh like no other. He is talented, creative and a born entertainer with a gift for being able to mimic almost anyone.
He was the best man at my ill-advised wedding and even after the marriage ended always stayed in touch with me. (It is a true testimonial to the kind of person he is that he made multiple attempts over many years to stay in touch with my ex-husband and was rebuffed or ignored every time. I will spare you my opinion on that kind of treatment by my ex towards his best friend).
Jimmy met his wife, Laurie, on the job and she’s the kind of person that immediately is at home in any situation. She is funny, wise, clever, loyal and passionate about what she believes. They have 2 beautiful and talented children and are an example of lessons learned and lives well lived.
A few months ago I was dealing with something troubling and was woefully and wrongly out of touch with them because I was convinced I was not much fun to talk to. I sent Jimmy a note apologizing for my neglect and explained why I had been absent from their lives. Without dwelling on the details, what I can tell you because it was so extraordinary is the most glorious act of kindness that both Laurie and Jimmy provided me. They were true friends in every sense of the word and how many people can you say that about?
We’ve known each now for 45 years and I know we’ll know each other forever. They love me when I’m at my best and they love me more when I’m far from my best. That alone is the ultimate gift one can hope to receive.