Today is Kirk’s birthday. He has been my friend since kindergarten. I am glad that he was born and I am glad that he is my friend. He is a good guy. He is a great guy, but let’s don’t get sappy.
Growing up together, we belonged to the same church. His father was my favorite Sunday School teacher. We went to the same schools. We played sports together, starting in second grade, at the Y.M.C.A. One of his little brothers used to spit on my little sister, as siblings of baseball players played in the dirt under the bleachers. Little sisters are often tattletales.
We were debate team partners because Kirk’s father was a lawyer and we thought we might be too; however, we were never available for debate tournaments due to sports conflicts all year, except we went to Kansas City to debate during Christmas break and another out of town trip to Sioux City that we could fit in.
We chose to go to the same college, three hundred miles from home, where we were roommates for two years, until Kirk transferred. It was good to have him as a stable force in my life as we shared those college experiences and late night talks about them.
We chose to go to seminary together, where we were roommates again for one year. I left to go to law school instead. Kirk stayed all four years and was ordained as a Lutheran pastor. He served at Holy Toledo Lutheran Church. (That is a joke, but it is the city where he was first called.) He later moved to Milwaukee and got a Masters in Social Work. He worked for the county social services and later at the jail.
We both got married and never lived in the same city again, but kept in touch, as life marched on. Babies were born and grew up. His brother, Kent, who spit on my sister, was killed in an accident caused by a drunk driver. (See https://cowboylawyer.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/my-last-d-u-i/). Both of his parents and my father passed away. We shared grief and happy news too.
Cell phones and email have made it easier to keep connected. We talk almost every week. We were able to get together last summer, the first time in years. We are both just as good-looking as ever. Kirk was center on our high school football team that won a state championship. He was catcher on the varsity baseball team. He almost played college baseball. He looks like a center and a catcher should look. He does not look like a sissy. He is not a sissy. He is a tough, yet kind man, which is why he was effective in the jail.
Usually our telephone conversations are similar to what we might have talked about when we were fourteen because sports are our main topic. We talk about the Broncos and Packers. We talk about Nebraska football. We talk about the College World Series. We talk about NCAA basketball, especially the tournament in March, at which time he takes a week of vacation in order to watch as many games as possible. We share the same values about watching sports as a priority.
We talk about those important things rather than trivial things, such as our “feelings” like girls do.
However, when I need a friend who is not a girl, Kirk is probably the only person I can talk to about my feelings, and he always says just the right thing.
It is a blessing to have such a friend. But don’t tell Kirk I said that. I don’t want him to think I am getting soft. There is one thing that he does not put up with, and neither do I, and that is sissies. That is why I am sort of afraid to let him know about this sappy blog post.
The Packers lost to the Lions on Thanksgiving. Nebraska lost to Iowa yesterday. So, that is the news for this week. Hey, the Broncos play the Chiefs tomorrow.