May 07, 2024

Rolling Stones

 The Rolling Stones have never been one of my favorites. I may be one of a dozen people in my age group that isn't fond of them, let-alone "in love' with them. I did like those striped trousers but the music was meh for the most part.

These past two days their hit song Time Is On My Side (no, it's not) is stuck in my head. Stuck in my head when I am not thinking about a dear, dear friend who is in surgery at this moment. 

He and I have been friends since I was 12, he was 14. He was also too cool for me when we were that age but I thought he looked like Dr. Kildare (Richard Chamberlain). 

As we matured (or so we thought) we begin going to parties together and eventually dating. He was my first real kiss, my first date, my first make-out partner! I went to his high school prom with him. 

He had a 1954 Ford that we would jam full of friends and sometimes drag race down El Camino Real in Santa Clara. The front bench seat of this peach of a car was not bolted down, so occasionally, it slipped a bit. One Friday evening we were headed to have pizza with friends; Mike and I and some friends in his car, the rest of the gang in Norv's car. 

At a red light, our friend drove up next to us, revving his engine. The light turned green,:we peeled out. We were far ahead of Norv's car when the light in front of us turned red. My friend slammed on his brakes. As we skidded to a stopped the bench seat slid out from under us. The three of us in the front seat were looking up, staring at our knees, when one of the guys in the back seat yelled, "I smell smoke!" 

Smoke was, indeed, rising from the back of the vehicle. It was a sight watching 8 crazy teenagers trying to squirm our way out of the vehicle. Oh yeah, the left hand door in the back didn't function so back-seaters had to scramble out of the right hand door. Bruising did, indeed, result.

After we all settled down and the adrenaline oozed away, Mike, my friend, discovered that he had left his emergency brake on when we were racing, hence, the smoke!

Did any of us morons call our folks for a ride home? Heck no. We pushed the bench seat back in place, piled back in and went for pizza and spent the evening harrassing the Norv that we beat him even with the brakes on. 

How are we all still alive?

Mike and I have been good friends for the last 61 years. We dated for a short time and then moved on to other people but stayed friends. 

The past two years we've both had health issues and talk quite often, not just about health problems. We just share life's experiences, thoughts and perceptions. His significant other died early this year leaving 16 years old twins in his care. Since her passing he has had several serious surgeries and complications from surgeries. 

He called on Sunday to tell me that he was back in the VA hospital with a serious infection from the last surgery. The doctors had also discovered he has cancer in his spine and it is not the primary cancer but they are not sure yet of original location. 

He called yesterday to say that he was going to have surgery on infected site but transferring hospitals first. 

This morning he called to say the doctor said that the surgery was needed asap; maybe this evening or tomorrow BUT that with everything else going on with Mike the possiblity of not making it through surgery was a real issue.

We spoke for only a minute or so because I was in doctor's office myself. I told him I would call as soon as I saw the doctor. 

Ten minutes later, about an hour ago, Mike called me back. He said the doctor went over the most recent test results and said emergency surgery was required "right now!" Just then my own doctor walked into the room.

We said, "I love you." He hung up.

I don't remember what my doctored said. I could only think of all the things I've always wanted to tell Mike. What a good friend he's been over the years. How brilliant a writer he is. How compassionate he is. That he still reminds me of Dr. Kildare. How I really loved that first kiss and the prom. 

Time is not on our side, people. Tell those you love, those you appreciate, those you respect how you feel. Tell the now. Don't wait until they're being wheeled in to surgery and might not be coming out.  

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