Jimmy Smith was my best friend. We grew up in the same small town and lost contact right after high school. Why?
I don’t have a good answer for that question. Adulthood brings rapid changes to young lives. It was the Vietnam war era. I went into the Army. Jimmy went to college. Our paths crossed only twice since then.
We lived just three blocks from Jimmy’s home. His father was a postal worker back in the day when they were known as a postman and the job didn’t pay as well. Jimmy had a younger brother, and two older brothers.
We shared a love of cars and pop music. He liked basketball and I liked baseball. Jimmy and I double-dated to our high school senior prom. We seldom argued over anything. I was always impressed with his ability to do the work in school, get good grades, and be respected by teachers and classmates. He was impressed by my ability to write fiction and pass it off as a book report or research paper. And he always laughed when I said I offered a pithy observation, or said something silly, which was often.
Jimmy was a pleasure to be around. Nice guy, good family, dependable friend.
Our lives did not cross much after leaving high school. We met briefly a few months after I left the Army and returned home for a visit. He continued on to college, moved away, and married. We met again about 15 years later when his father died and we stopped by the family home to say hello and offer condolences.
Jimmy still laughed at my humorous pokes and barbs and insight.
It’s been almost 30 years since then. I don’t know where Jimmy lives and I don’t know why we never kept in touch.
Adulthood is full of choices, opportunities, and consequences. Sometimes the road we choose in life brings consequence instead of opportunity. Those consequences can harbor regret. In an age when true friends are difficult to come by, more difficult to maintain, Jimmy is remembered as a good friend.
One of my adult regrets is not maintaining that childhood friendship.
Where art thou, Jimmy Smith?