DY: In Just a Few Words (#117)
If only I was a betting man.
Like many of you, I have been watching reports about the current Mega Millions (or should I say Billions?) jackpot. And, like you, I am still waiting to defy the one in three million odds of winning. Of course, it might improve my chances if I actually played the lottery vs. just watching from the sideline.
Let me switch gears now and transition to some different odds.
When my mother passed away at 94, she had been best friends with her best friend for 88 years, from the time they were little girls living next door to each other on Willard Avenue in Bloomfield, New Jersey. They weren't inseparable as each had a life of her own - husband, kids and other friends - but they always found their way back to each other. You can get long odds on a close childhood relationship lasting that many years.
There’s a whole lot of value in long-term relationships such as they had. It’s like going home after a lengthy journey and finding the basic pieces and players still intact and very much worthy of your continued attention and affection.
My son, Denny, has followed in his grandmother's footsteps when it comes to lengthy relationships with friends. Or perhaps - better put - lengthy relationships with people who, over time, have earned recognition in the best friends category. He has an amazing network of connections going back many years.
I was reminded of that this past Saturday, when we attended the celebration of life for Walt Smith, a fine man - who along with his late wife, Joy, raised a wonderful family with three offspring. Walt was an FAA senior staffer responsible for helping commercial aircraft navigate in and out of Northeast Ohio. Any of us who have flown a lot owe Walt a big thank you for keeping us out of the way of other planes, to say nothing of the bad weather that rolls in so often from Lake Erie.
Walt’s younger son, Steve, has been in Denny’s best friends category for 50+ years. They met as sports-loving little guys attending the former Sussex Elementary School in Shaker Heights. A large number of Denny’s childhood memories involve Steve and their joint shenanigans. Today, Steve lives in the Los Angeles area, where he and his wife have raised their own family.
But, Denny and Steve each travel enough that it’s never breaking news when I learn they are together. And, when that doesn't happen, there’s always the phone and texting. They are brothers and have been forever.
Like Denny, I have been hanging around with my own Steve Smith. In our case, that’s closing in on 70 years. We’ve been buddies since early high school. We even went to UNC together. After I moved to Cleveland 61 years ago, we still had that bond. I was in the Midwest and Steve was in New Jersey. I would get reports of his visits to my parents. He and my father, the West Pointer, loved to trade Army stories.
A funny thing happened along the way. New Jersey Steve married a Northeast Ohio girl and settled in a little over 30 miles from us. After all these years, we still stay in touch and socialize just like old times - except we don’t stay up as late as we used to.
So, there I am with 70+ years of history with New Jersey Steve Smith, my lifetime friend. And, Denny with 50+years of history with his lifetime friend, Steve Smith. Different Steve Smiths from different beginnings in separate communities, but forever etched into the Young family history.
What are the odds of that happening? You probably have a better chance of winning the Mega Millions Lottery.
DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.
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