Saturday, February 18, 2006

Old Friends

When we returned from a day of shopping for a treadmill I had a message waiting, an old high school friend Paul called. He said he had some news, so I returned his call.

He told me our old buddy Ronnie was found dead in a hotel room in Mexico. His body was cremated and they are sending the remains to his family here.

This is uncanny similar to another friend of ours, Bubba, who died in a cheap motel or rooming house in Texas. They had led similar lives of partying and gambling.

At one time, about 30 years ago, Ronnie was on the run because he owed “the big boys”* a big gambling debt. He may have been in hiding since, I haven’t heard.

Paul also said another old friend H. called him and they are getting together today. In high school H. was something of a braggart who thought he looked just like Elvis and sung just like Elvis. He also claimed he was a big singing star on weekends at the Silver Slipper night club in Atlanta. He said the girls would go wild when he shook his legs and hips like Elvis when he sung.

After high school H. and Paul were roommates. One time after Paul gave H. his share of the rent for H. to put with his share and pay the full balance, H. left town, leaving the rent unpaid. Paul hasn’t seen him since.

H. said he had a stroke and Paul said his speech was slur. He said since his stroke he had been at the VA hospital in Milledgeville, Ga., for the past 18 years.

Wait! There is something wrong with this. I don’t know if Paul remembers, but I do. H. went into the Air Force after high school and was kicked out after several times of going A.W.O.L. Does the Veterans’ Hospital extend their benefits to dishonorable discharged people?

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