Saturday, June 11, 2011

Daily Dose #15 (06/11/11)


Author's Note:

"Friendships are funny. You think they will last forever, but life intrudes. Trajectories that seem to coincide for a time, skew unexpectedly.

As I age, I've come to accept that phenomena a little more gracefully, but as a child, it's hard to understand what was seemingly set in stone... wasn't."

These three "Daily Dose" entries, #'s 13,14, and 15, concern a 40 year cycle of friendship with Steve Krause, my childhood best friend. If you haven't the first two, the rest of this won't make much sense. Just go to the subheading in the right column labeled "The Daily Dose". Number 13 will be easy to find.


I left part 2 of this trilogy with this critical question running through my mind: "What if I wasn't brought here to fix me? What if The Universe brought me here to fix something, or someone else?"

I thought I was up here to start something new: to fix my life. But then this new opportunity popped up out of the blue. Maybe my path crossed Steve's for a reason. Maybe I was here to right a past wrong, or fix something that was broken. Maybe me being in Skaneateles in a railroad apartment working on developing a show was just window dressing: a smokescreen to perhaps accomplish something of much greater value than prancing around on a stage as the Monkey Boy screaming, "Look At Me!"

Once you really start to notice what I call "The unseen connective tissue between two points", you start to see more evidence that you may have uncovered a hidden cosmic agenda.

While I was up here preparing for the show, I started dating a local Skaneateles woman who I had gone to highschool with. In highschool, she was a very close friend of Steve's wife Dorothy, and that friendship had been preserved for the past thirty years. I somehow had also been given a more insider's view of the struggle that Steve was going through concerning his injury, and the effects of those struggles.

Also, a mutual friend of all of ours in highschool was getting remarried at the Skaneateles Country Club. With a little push on my part, there would be plenty of opportunities to talk with Steve. I insisted that we all get together at the Sherwood Inn for an "old home week" reunion dinner.

So the Universe, or whatever you want to call it, was serving up meatballs for me to take a swing at basically. All the puzzle parts were fitting.

So I got to hang with Steve in several social situations, none that could be perceived as an ambush on my part. I didn't want to knock him out of his comfort zone again.

So at a cocktail party, at a wedding, and at my engineered "dinner" I got to hang out with my dear old friend, and we got to re-connect. If he was suffering from sort of diminution of cognitive or comprehension abilities, he hid it well.

During that dinner, we got to talk about my car accident. I got to finally tell him, after forty years, that I never blamed him. And that I understood how scary it must have been for him. That I loved him dearly, and that love was never turned off as if it was on a switch. It was just shelved because of an apparent lack of interest, one that I had a much better understanding of now.

We both decided that maybe my being here in Skaneateles might provide us with the opportunity to resume a friendship long gone, and that having that opportunity was an unexpected blessing, and we both expressed regret for letting a friendship become dormant for forty years. What a colossal waste of time.

We promised to stay in touch, and to make sure we didn't let life intrude on us rekindling a new, adult friendship.


I'd like to tell you there is a happy ending to this story. After two years of Steve and I periodically calling each other to try to set something up, we never did. Life did intrude, and scheduling was insurmountable for both of us. We both sort of gave up.

I ran into him at a fundraising dinner in the spring of 2010 at the Skaneateles Country Club, and we got to hang a bit. Hanging with him was like putting on a pair of very old comfortable shoes. We both reminded each other that we were blowing it by not making more of an effort to get together. We made a pact to not let this opportunity to pass.

A battery of phone calls were exchanged again, and again, we never seemed to get to the point where we would drop what was going on in our respective lives to actually make it happen.

On October 16th, 2010, Steve Krause died. He was fifty years old, leaving behind his wife, four beautiful children, his mom and dad, his siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews... and his friends, of which he had volumes.

That little red Audi that I witnessed Steve and his Dad pouring themselves out of just less than two years previously, became the instrument of his untimely demise. He was travelling toward Skaneateles on Route 41, from the family camp in Spafford. He lost control of the car, and he hit a tree.

The car was discovered at approximately 4:45 in the afternoon. He died the next day at Upstate Medical Hospital in Syracuse, NY.

State Police statements included information that lead to the conclusion that he was travelling too fast for rainy driving conditions.

I went to the chapel that Steve had designed for Lemoyne college, where his memorial service was held. You couldn't get in the joint. The service was SRO with a line around the block.

I also attended a "celebration of his life" function at the lodge on the Welch Allyn Corporate compound. He was very much loved by the entire community.

Steve's death filled me with regret. I had been given an opportunity, but ultimately, I blew it. Maybe I did enough just by clearing the air on a childhood event that occurred forty years ago. Maybe that was enough, but I could have done so much more for him in his time of trouble. He was struggling. I knew it, and I didn't do enough to ease some of that for him.

So at the risk of repeating myself (I suspect that I will do that a lot over the course of 365 consecutive blogs, and frankly I'm not too worried about it),although many may question my motives for writing these things, I'm pretty clear on my own motivation.

You have to share what you know. You cannot be proprietary about what you know like its some sort of trade secret. Its time for me to give it away, and stop guarding it. I'm not competing in a rat race anymore. I've walked off the track.

There is no guarantee that I will wake up tomorrow morning.

Lets face it. I've lived hard, and have lived a hard life. I've been rode hard, albeit by my own design and choice, but I've still been put in the barn wet. This moment, right now, may be my last opportunity to pass something on that I value, to people I love. I try to write like its the last time I'll get the chance to do so. These blogs are about the simple truths that I have learned in my time spent on planet earth.

So this is what I know:

You have to read the signs Peep-A-Roos.

It's not enough to be able to develop the ability and sensitivity to read the signs to see the unseen connective tissue between points and events on the time continuum.

You must act upon them, and in accordance with them.

Most importantly, you have to give. Give, and give, and give some more without the feeble expectation of reciprocation. Reciprocation will always come, but it won't always manifest itself in an obvious way. It usually manifests itself in the form of relationships, not stuff.

You have to diligently throw creation into all of creation. Share with an open, loving, and trusting heart. Creation takes care of itself, and takes care of its own.

There are assholes out there that will take advantage of people who give. That doesn't matter, and it ain't your problem. If you are giving to wear a crown of thorns to broadcast your own victimization, you're giving for the wrong reasons.

Assholery takes care of itself, and takes care of its own.

So...once again, with feeling:

Don't "Try": "Do". Don't parasitically "Take":"Give". Don't thoughtlessly destroy, following some scorched earth policy to serve your own needs at the expense of the needs of others: "make" instead. Don't "Hate": "Love". Don't harbor resentment: "Forgive". Don't point the crooked finger of blame: find your own personal responsibility in any adverse situation, because that's the place where future usable wisdom resides. Embrace failure and the lessons learned from it, instead of being paralyzed be the fear of failure.

And tell the people you love, that you love them. Every chance you get. You may never get another.





KRW said...

George, I think this is your best yet. I should probably print this and post it over my dresser to read every day as a reminder of how I can be a better person. Many thanks for your 365 day effort.

ellen leahy said...

u r a very wise soul Georgie - thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

1-10,.. Maybe a 6. Wouldn't buy it but could hear it if I wasn't paying too much attention. It's just wanna-b's playing stuff that's already been played out by even better musicians than this years ago. There's alot better talent out there and forums like 'American Idol' and 'Voice' have a far greater impact and success rate than struggling 'basement' or 'wedding' musicians do. Hungarians make good goulash! Period.

Louis X said...

Ok ok I love you George your a good man ..a lousy friend but there I said it .

plunk88 said...

@Louis door is always open to you, even if I seem to be a fair weather, friend.

Anonymous said...

Been there....learned from it....should've shared it myself with you earlier....never wait anymore....if I think of someone, I don't wait....I let them know immediately....& I tell everyone to do the same. Tomorrow is not Guaranteed.