An old college classmate, Dave, was working on a law degree in Dallas with a young family struggling to get along. I was going to be in town for a conference or something and called him up to see if we could get together. He agreed quickly and asked when I wanted to be picked up at the airport. After we agreed on a time he then asked whether I wanted to to be picked up in the Caddillac or the sports car. I knew he was a poor graduate student and just laughed.
He arrived at DFW in his wife’s uncle’s Alfa Romeo with the top down and a big Texas smile. Her uncle was Lee Travino, the famous golfer. We drove to Lee’s house, drank a couple of beers by a distributor that sponsored him and traded in the Alpha for Dave’s beater.
On the way to his house Dave got serious and said his home had been broken into the week before. I was agahst—he lived in a nice part of town, best I could tell. I asked “What did the intruders steal?” Dave laughed so hard I thought he would crash the car. “Nothing” he said. “We don’t have anything worth stealing!” He laughed some more. We went out to dinner and enjoyed a simple meal with his wife.
I have other stories Dave taught me over the years. Maybe I will write about them in another weekly story here. I like Dave’s stories because they always remind me of a guy who knew how to laugh at and with life. For me, it started with friendship. Our friendship stretched over fifty years or so and from Chicago to Texas. It included all aspects of life—family, stories of clients, a trip to the Indianapolis 500 one year, and a trip to see his daughter star in a play.
In reflecting on life and other distractions this week after Easter and before spring really blossoms, I am savoring memories of Dave and other good friends who have fortified me over the years and cherish those memories and the blessings that come with them.
I hope you have a Dave to share a friendship with—and to laugh at and with life. They are gifts of great value. Telll them how much you appreciate them. Happy spring.
Fr. J. Patrick Murphy, C.M., Ph.D., is Emeritus Professor of Public Service at DePaul University and Values Director for Depaul International, an organization that serves homeless people in seven countries.