I met Bill in the third grade. He was the tall kid who had two silver teeth. I remember that he was always writing stupid stories for extra credit. While we knew each other we were just acquaintances until our freshman year .We had science together and were lab partners. We bonded while tormenting Dene, who is a friend to this day. Dene was a small asthmatic kid who could take a joke. Bill and I once stuffed him into a trash can during class, carried him up to the front desk where we placed him on top of the desk. Bill and I didn’t get into trouble Dene did. Around us a large circle of friends formed. All were welcome, from brothers to childhood friends and even the president of student council (a jock)was around for a while.
Bill, Dene and I became very close friends. We started working in the theatre. Learning most of the skills I use now for set construction, design, lighting and sound. We did many plays together. Worked many hours together but it was never like work it was just a great time. We even worked at Sears together.
We were a little wild but who isn’t at that age. We were young and indestructible. We did things we shouldn’t have done, in places we probably shouldn’t have been.
Our friendship continued long after we graduated. We still would hang out Just now the stuff we started to do was even wilder, we were young adults still acting like kids. It’s a wonder that we never got caught doing some of the stuff we did I won’t go into detail.Lets just say it would surprise a lot of people I know now.
Bill and I did many things together. Some of it was actually good too. We went to concerts. Our first was “The Moody Blues”. We also saw bands like Heart, The Cars, Styx, the Doobies and innumerable bar bands. That’s where I learned what a live band should sound like. I said I learned many of my skills with Bill. I also learned how to drink with Bill .
Around 1981 or 1982 Bill started to date a tall beautiful cheerleader. Her name was Pearl. Our friendship was in trouble. I started to like Pearl very quickly,but she was my best friends girlfriend. I tried to stay away from the group and Pearl but Bill kept pushing us together. He would have me pick her up and take her places. I started to like her even more and Bill started to mistreat her. She started calling me, now I was really in trouble. When Pearl broke up with Bill and started to date me the friendship was never the same. I grew up almost immediately and most of my friends didn’t.
Pearl led me to Jesus, just like she tried to Bill , I said yes , Bill said no. Bill and I once had a conversation about God and faith, he was raised catholic. He told me that his father didn’t go to church, so he wasn’t going to go anymore.He just didn’t believe it. He followed his fathers example. The lesson for fathers is that your children are watching and learning from you, your good and your bad.
Bill and I went our separate ways. I married Pearl, Bill moved to Cheyenne started a family and became a police officer. We saw each other every few years. But we weren’t the same. I wasn’t the same. God has changed my life.
Bill died August 13th. A month later and I’m still in shock. Dene and I along with several other friends went to the memorial service. A service befitting a hero of this world. There were officers from as far away as Pueblo. During the service the officer that was officiating talked about all of Bill’s accomplishments. He was Deputy Chief in Cheyenne, President of some police organization,he even helped start the Bicycle patrol, and an in house training program.While he was doing this all I could think of was our conversation about God. Did he find Jesus? Was he saved? I could tell that Bill had impacted many lives. I saw young officers and grizzled veterans alike with tears in their eyes. But was he saved, did he turn back to God? The minister that spoke said that Bill was a great family man, and member of the Methodist church I take solace in this, but did he love and serve God? You can be a member of church and not have a relationship with Jesus.
Will I see Bill in heaven, I hope so. I’ll leave that up to God to decide. As for me, friends old and new, I Am Saved , and through the grace of God I Am Redeemed. I don’t want there to be any doubt of that when I meet my judgement day. I noticed how much I’ve changed when I was with my old friends. I just don’t seem to fit very well anymore. I do hope and pray that someday they find the peace I have through the forgiveness of my sins past and future. I’m not perfect just forgiven.
I think I’ll go listen to The Moody Blues. Bryan