It seems I’m in serious hot water with my old pal Dudley. He actually stopped at my apartment the other day, and he was red-faced with anger. “I just found out on FACEBOOK that you’re moving to Toledo or Toledo, Pa. or some such nonsense!”, he boomed. He wasn’t about to let me explain that it’s Sylvania, Ohio – a suburb of Toledo. “You never even told ME you were moving, let alone give me a chance to talk some sense into that skull of yours.” (Dud doesn’t necessarily buy the idea that people can do what they must without consulting him.)
“Listen, Dud,” I said, “I had every intention of telling you once I had a date for the move and an address. Besides, I knew you’d see it discussed on Facebook and I’ve been working and trying to organize a few other things in the past few weeks.”
“No! No! No! Don’t make excuses,” he roared, “you were going to slither out of town without even telling me. Where’s your sense of brotherhood, your sense of comradery; your SENSE!?” He stopped to let his blood pressure level off. “We slogged through drifts of virgin snow from my dorm at Edinboro to the Hotel bar and laughed and reveled in the storm as we went! We chased girls and picked fights and laughed at each others bruises afterwards!” he was right, of course, and we’d done a thousand other things we’d later deny to the death.
We fleeced would-be pinochle players out of their lunch money in the old Student Union building. We swiped bricks fron the campus admin. building – Normal Hall – when it burned down, just to have souveniers. And he took me on a week-long pub-crawl when I got back to Erie after almost 3 years active duty in the Navy. (You should have heard the explosion when he found out I joined the Navy Reserves!)
Later I taught him to play golf, and he’s made it a personal mission to beat me at the game I taught him (he never does). In fact he’s the only golfer I know that I can beat regularly. He even plays in the family tournament (the Kflembeauski Cup). He’s never won, although there was one time when he called the engraver (my wife) and insisted that HE had won and she should put his name on the trophy. He means well, he just needs to feel he’s a part of something. Dudley is one of two people on this planet that I would share anything with, knowing that it would go no farther.
But I’ve wandered, here. Dud continued to fume while I explained the reasons for the move and made all kinds of promises about returning to Erie in a heartbeat and having him over ANY time he wanders into the Toledo area. There are so many more memories that flood into my head when I talk to Dudley, but some of them are still just between him and me. I’ll always see Dud when I want to, it’s the times and places we’ve shared together that it will be torture to leave.