If there is one thing that my wife and I often repeat to our kids, it’s this: choose your friends wisely.
People my age have seen enough friends come and go that we’re pretty much experts on “choosing wisely.”
This time of year is always a time of reflection — at least for me. I think about family, the coming year, health, friendship, and faith.
The two gentlemen pictured here are my brothers. Big John is on the left, and Edgar is on the right. If you know either one of them, consider yourselves lucky. They’re two of the most loyal and loving friends you’ll ever find.
I met both of them in 1982. I don’t recall how I met John, but my guess is that he and I met at wrestling practice many seasons ago. And while I’m pretty sure that I met Edgar at school, too, my first recollection of talking to him always dates back to a bus ride home on public transportation. Edgar has always had a great sense of humor, and one day I was on the receiving end of his shtick. In front of a few others, in the back of the bus, he said this to me, “Your mama wears leopard-skin underwear.”
Common high school ribbing.
After a few laughs, and little back-and-forth, he invited me to his house for the first time — on Jamaica Way in east San Jose. I remember staying for a few hours before I took the long trek home on the bus.
In the coming days I found that there was an extra bonus in befriending Edgar. He and John were already close, which meant I got two brothers for the price of one. It didn’t take long before the three of us were hanging out on a daily basis. We ate together; we dated together; we went to high school events together; we laughed — a lot — together; and we comforted each other during our respective times of need.
Edgar and I even joined the Army together. Ultimately, he swore in, and I hid from recruiters for months because I had a change of heart. In retrospect, I think we both made the right decisions.
I don’t remember being upset with either one of them during those days; however, I would occasionally get irritated with Edgar for playing Lionel Richie over and over and over again. To this day, I don’t know anyone who loves Lionel more than he. I bet if Edgar could dance on the ceiling, he would. Truly.
The only time John mildly upset me was when he said he couldn’t hangout because he had to go help a girl wash her car. He eventually married that girl, and today they have two beautiful daughters.
Of all of the moments I cherish when I look back at high school, meeting these two is the highlight. While John is the youngest, he always assumed the role of my big brother. And Edgar was always the one who could cheer us up.
The one advantage that they’ve always had over me is that they found the loves of their lives early. I didn’t find mine until I was 29. That said, the wait was definitely worth it.
I don’t see my two high school buddies that often these days, but there is so much that reminds me of them, that they’re often in my thoughts. Lionel always reminds me of Edgar. And I often think of John when I see my own little brother, Xavier. He and John share the same jovial and loving spirit.
Whatever you reflect on as this year comes to an end, I hope you’ve been as lucky as I have – with faith, family, and friendships.