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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Proven Friendship

Proven Friendship

When I was first given the opportunity to transfer to headquarters (150 miles away from my home) I did the prudent thing and that was to test the waters by going by myself for the first 6 months.  I figured in 6 months I would know if I was right for the job, and if the job was right for me.  It was very difficult to only come home for the weekend.  I had never been away from my family before and the children were small (all four were under 11 years of age).  The first thing I did was to get a phone installed in my apartment.  My phone bill in my apartment was running a couple hundred per month because I would call home every night after work.  Sometimes I would simply travel the distance in the middle of the week, and head back at 4 in the morning to get to work on time the next day. 
Within 3 months I knew that I was great for the job and the job was perfect for me, but there was the problem of selling our house to relocate.  I realized that it was obviously more expensive to maintain two households, so I needed to make a decision. I looked around for a possible house lease, so that we wouldn’t get stuck with two house payments on a long term.  Most places that I looked into required first month, last month and deposit of equal amount as the monthly lease payment.  Then there was the matter of an additional damage deposit for our longtime family member Teddy a very loving Pekingese doggie.  There is no way he wouldn’t be making the transition.

Headquarters would reimburse me for my relocation expenses but I had to spend the money first.  After all the added expenses I had just gone through in the last 4 months (dual household expense plus travel) the money wasn’t just hanging around in the cookie jar.  The saving I did have was in a blue chip savings account.  If you withdraw it before maturity, the penalty was prohibitive.  I must admit that the problem was foremost on my mind.
When my friend (Joe L.) picked me at home for the trip to our usual weekly breakfast he noticed the concern on my face.  He immediately asked me what was bothering me, I asked is it that obvious, and he said in his typical retired Navy and Teamster style, you look like s—t.  I wasn’t very sharing with my problems and I certainly didn’t want to ruin the breakfast meeting by dumping my problems on him. So I just said it’s nothing serious or for you to worry about.  In his gruff manner he responded fine the hell with you.  At that point I felt that I owed him an explanation.  I mentioned that I needed to move the family close to my new job, and that I was about $5,000.00 short, but that I could get my hands on my own money in about 60 days, so everything would work out.  Again in his own manner of talking he said that’s your problem don’t bother me with it.  Trying to save face I said, I told you it wasn’t a big deal and that I would handle it. 

We drove in silence for about a mile, and then he asked; do you mind if I make one business stop before breakfast?  My answer was that he was driving and of course I was in no rush to eat breakfast.  He went into a tall commercial building, and returned within 20 minutes.  We continued to the breakfast, enjoying the typical conversation of our weekly meetings.  On the drive back he said you know I left something at the building where I went before breakfast and I need to stop there again do you mind.  I had no objection so we stopped and this time he came out within 10 minutes.  On the rest of the drive home he reached into his coat pocket and pulled out an envelope, and gave it to me.  He caught me by surprise and I said what is this?  He replied that it was the $5,000.00 I needed. I said Joe, if you are going to lend me the money I insist on signing a note; if something were to happen to me no one would be aware of our transaction.  He replied as I had come to expect; what’s the matter your word isn’t good enough?

Once again, long story short.  We made our move (relocation), and that’s why I always say everything that we have accomplished since we moved, I owe to my good friend Joe L.  I paid him back with an additional $500 within the 60 days, and he felt insulted.  He said I am not a bank you don’t owe me any interest.  This time I responded with sarcasm, and said don’t get too high on yourself, the extra money isn’t interest, I am giving you the five hundred to bet on the ponies, but you better bring me my share of the winnings.
Of course as was the story any other time, he loved the ponies but the ponies hated him, there were no winnings to report.  In his younger years Joe had an eye for the ladies, and could prove it (he was married 5 times and divorced 4).  He got very lucky on the last marriage.  However, he never outlived his love for the ponies.  RIP my friend!  The best is yet to come…..

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