An Old Friend


I sent a friend request on facebook to this girl who’s brother I was friends with for a very long time. She accepted of course and she had pictures of her brother. His name was Paul Alexander and he was like a brother to me. We had our differences of course as all friends do but he always there. Paul died in July of 1992. He was only 20. I remember where I was at when I first heard about it. I was one of my other friends, Bill Collins, house. Paul and Bill were good friends too. Paul was just that way. He had a lot of friends. Everyone knew him. On the day of his funeral, I was amazed . The place was packed. There were people there I hadn’t seen since High School. I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised. Like I said, Paul had a lot of friends. After I had left I went home and cried. Something I’m not afraid to admit. My take on the world and my own mortality changed that day, though. That was something I never admitted to anyone until now.

I have memories of him that will never go away. His babysitter was just down the street from me when I first met him in 1980. We were fast friends. We had a lot in common, baseball, baseball cards, star wars, you name it we shared it. Soon my mom began babysitting him. That lasted the rest of the summer. It was then that we started playing baseball and making our own lineups. One of the most famous games that we never forgot was the “Danny Cox” home run. That was the name of the  batter when he hit a game winning home run off me. I got my revenge another time when were playing in his back yard and I smoked a long one that went over the fence and over this house that was being built behind his. If I remember correctly the ball was never found. One summer we were playing in the baseball summer league and he was pitching. I cant remember the team he was on but his team was playing my team. I pinch hit and socked a home run off of him. He was trying to throw some kind of pitch to get me out like he always did but failed that time. Another time I was pitching and I threw one way too far inside and hit him. The only time I hit a batter, though I did throw one at someone on purpose and missed, but that’s another story.

There was another time I think it was 1986 and it was snowing and we were playing  football and I cant remember who we played against but it was me and Paul against three others. We totally annihilated  them. He was “The Deep Freeze” and I was “Blue Shoes.” Trying to tackle Paul was like trying to stop a freight train it seemed. You were often sore afterwards. I don’t know why he didn’t play football in school. He would have been great.

As we got older we drifted apart as some friends do though we managed to hang out when we could. The last time we hung out  a lot was when we were playing basketball at MACS bar in Flat River. We had a pretty good team and afterwards we would go over to his place and drink. (Yes we were not of age) This was sometime in early 1991. There’s stories to tell from that time to that I may talk about sometime . It was fun. The last time I saw Paul was two weeks before he died. He was at the Sports Complex watching me and Bill playing softball. We all planned to get together sometime soon. But of course we never got to.

I go by his grave every so often. I made sure I did whenever I visited Bonne Terre. Now that I’m living here again I should visit more often. It’s probably been over a year since I have. I feel bad about that. I miss him. Friends like him don’t come around very often. I wonder what he’d think about the Cardinals and the rams. He never got to see the Rams come to St. Louis. Hopefully I’ll get to talk to his sister soon. It’ll be nice to visit.

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