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Raoul’s Two Cents: May 21, 2021

Stand By Me

I was the new kid in high school and I desperately needed a friend. Three other teenagers — (not their real names) Teddy the Playboy, Nervous Bob and Lazy Lenny befriended me. They saw me eating my lunch and they asked me to hang out with them. Well, you know the story — lost boy meets other lost boys and they form a bond. If you watched the movie “Stand By Me” that’s what it was like.

I was the tallest and Teddy was the shortest. Bob and I had acne riddled all over our faces. Lenny always looked sleepy but he was secretly the spoiled rich kid whose father ran a small factory. Teddy was the care-free, good looking joker who was the only one who would have the guts to approach a girl and not get tongue-tied. If there were a pretty woman in front of me, I would run away. Bob would giggle first and then run away. Lenny … well Lenny would walk away slowly and disappear … never again to be seen by man or beast. The four of us discovered LIFE outside the regiments of school work. Other than sharing our misunderstanding of the mysteries of women, we had nothing else in common. But we enjoyed being foolish togther. The following school year I was placed in another section. I never got to hang out with them anymore. Decades passed.

* * * * *

Last year, I got a call from a quivering voice who claimed he was a friend: “It’s Teddy, do you remember me? We used to hang out in high school.” He was apologetic he didn’t want to call but he was at the end of his rope and desperation forced the phone call. I comforted him saying I was glad he called. He said he lost his job because of Covid, had no friends nor family, but he was going to train to be a forklift operator in San Francisco. He had dried up his resources and had not eaten for days.

“Could you spare some money?” he asked.

Would you have fallen for a line like that? All those years and now he begs for money. I did. In fact, my wife and I agreed to help him out with a sizeable chunk. I told him he should go to a Bible-believing church and seek refuge. Maybe God will meet him there. He said that he was familiar with a church and said that he would. I prayed with him on the phone.

* * * * * *

I got a shock early this week. I heard through the grapevine that Teddy had contracted Covid. He was gone. I was distraught. A part of my childhood died. Poor poor Teddy.

The next day, I got a text from another old friend. This time it was Bob. He wanted to tell me about Teddy. They had been very close. Teddy had been homeless since 2016 and he suffered with severe malnutrition, was hospitalized and diagnosed with depression, lung cancer and blood clot in his brain. His suffering has ended. I guess It was a good time to go.

Bob and I mourned in our texts. We apologized to each other for not keeping in touch. And then Bob mentioned he accepted Jesus as his saviour in 2018. Unless you are a believer, you will probably not understand this, but I was overjoyed. This is the main thing we have in common now. We hope to meet the next time he comes around in Los Angeles. What a beautiful day that will be.

I reflect at the different paths the 4 of us took. One path led to suffering and an early death. Two other paths split and then converged with Christ. (Teddy might have wound up on the same path but we will never know this side of heaven.) I never heard what happened to Lenny. I pray that he too will wander and meet us at same path.

Where are your friends? Are you in the right path? Are you waiting for them to join your path or are they waiting for you?

TGIF people!
Raoul

“Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”
— C.S. Lewis

Joke of the Week

Thanks to Peter Paul of South Pasadena, CA for this joke.

Original Art by Raoul Pascual

Video of the Week 

Thanks to Ed of Makati, Greater Manila, Philippines for this amusing video. I didn’t know Warren Buffet could sing.

Parting Shots

Thanks to Rodney of Manitoba, B.C.

Thanks to Mel of Washington DC for these Herman jokes which made me laugh out loud.

Thanks to Peter Paul of South Pasadena, CA

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15 Comments

  1. Lee

    May 22, 2021 at 9:01 am

    Hi Raoul,

    Your childhood story has many parallels to most of us. I read an article years ago by a person who said that friendships in life are most often temporary. They meet a special need for a time, but eventually they do not and we move on, but have special memories for the times that they were special to us. I moved away from Phoenix, Arizona where I grew up and moved back in time to attend my 50th anniversary of my high school graduating class. As I entered the dining room, someone had put up a large tripod that had the names of those who had passed away and I saw many friends from my youth who were gone. Over the next ten years that I lived there, many more passed away. Many of them were very special in my formative years, but we all grew up and went in our separate ways. I became a Christian in my last semester of high school and that same time 14 others did the same and six of us went into Christian ministry. I stayed in touch with several of them, but lost contact with most. I conducted funerals for several of my high school friends and we loved getting together for those last ten years in Phoenix area and laughing about silly things we did as kids and we mourned the loss of dear friends, some from tragic situations (cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, murder, car accidents, etc., etc.). We all realized how fast life had gone for us. Some of our class did very well in life and too many did not. A great joy was finding out that many of them came to faith in Christ and stayed with it. Some made a profession but did not stay with it.

    All of that to say that those of us who remain have become much closer, pray for each other and share in the joys of life and share in the care for one another. While friendships seldom last a lifetime, those that do are very special to us in our senior years.

    Blessings to you my friend.

    Reply

    • Raoul

      May 22, 2021 at 9:18 am

      Thanks for sharing your memories. Indeed, we are all graduating to a better life in greater numbers as we age. We can only hope that we see them again in heaven. God does put us in different situations — some of us born into rich families, some into poor, some into troubled families — but no matter where He places us, we still have to figure our way back to Him. Oh, the stories we will share one day in heaven.

      Reply

      • Lee

        May 22, 2021 at 9:32 am

        Thanks Raoul. I am encouraged by knowing that no matter where we come from, that does not have to determine our future. I grew up ion a very poor and broken home and we regularly received welfare bags of groceries and all of our clothes came from used clothes barrels at Good Will and Salvation Army. I made a decision when I became a Christian not to let that background to determine my future.

        Yes, some of the stories we will share in heaven will be a blessing and thankfully some of them we won’t have to share!

        Lee

        Reply

  2. Tom

    May 22, 2021 at 9:02 am

    Thanks Raoul You made me think of my old gang and what they are doing. I will phone and find out with your persuasion. Tom of Pasadena

    Reply

  3. Heather

    May 22, 2021 at 9:02 am

    Old friends are like gold. If you have the energy, you keep in touch. However, life has a way of interfering with the connections you may have made decades ago. It’s worth the effort, FOR SURE!

    Reply

  4. Vanessa

    May 22, 2021 at 9:03 am

    Greetings Raoul- I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. What a tragedy. I do hope you and Jackie are doing well. I haven’t had time to read many emails lately & this was the first of your TGIF emails I have read in months. We miss you both!!
    Take care!!
    Vanessa

    Reply

  5. Lois

    May 22, 2021 at 9:04 am

    Loved today’s issue. I, too, had several friends who “hung out” together. We wanted to be “adult,” so we called ourselves a sorority. I saw most of them at class reunions and we exchanged Christmas cards. I even became very close email friends with the widower of one of them. I wrote a story about that friendship and would be happy to share with you if you have time to read it. As far as I know, all of the girls from the sorority are gone now except for my friend Hattie with whom I exchange Christmas cards each year. Lois

    Reply

    • Raoul

      May 22, 2021 at 9:16 am

      I’m not surprised you had so many friends. Looking at the “trophies” you exhibited in your home I could tell you were a “wild one” 😉

      You probably still are the life of the party. You and Hattie could have a fun day if you were released from the limitations of your physical bodies.

      Of course I would love to read it. In fact, if you send it to me, I would love to put it in the comment box when I publish the article in Travelingboy so more people could enjoy it.

      TGIF!

      Reply

      • Lois

        May 22, 2021 at 9:24 am

        My Story: My Email Correspondent

        Her name was Lois, the same as mine, and, when we were teenagers, she was one of my best friends. So when my husband and I attended a class reunion in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, we got together with Lois and Jim, her husband. Jim was in the class ahead of us, and I had known of him but he hadn’t known me. Every time my husband and I attended a reunion, we spent time with Lois and Jim, and we exchanged Christmas cards every year. After Lois died a number of years ago, the Christmas card exchange continued. Then, almost two years after my husband’s passing, Jim wrote a note on his Christmas card and included his email address. This was how our email relationship began.

        I realized at the outset that I was in for a treat, knowing that Jim had been a newspaper writer and still occasionally wrote columns for the local newspaper, and he certainly doesn’t disappoint. His messages are full of reminiscent stories about our younger days, philosophical musings, testimonials of his faith, anecdotes and opinions. Each time I see his email address in my inbox, I get a twinge of excitement, wondering what he’ll regale me with next. I love reading his communications; likewise, he seems to enjoy what I write and doesn’t hesitate to tell me so.

        A childhood friend invited me to visit her in West Virginia this past September and October, promising to drive to our hometown of Johnstown, where we could meet with Jim and another friend. The four of us met for lunch, and it was so nice having a face-to-face conversation with Jim after almost a year of email communications. When Jim and I found ourselves alone for a few minutes, he leaned in and gave me a kiss which, I must admit, was welcomed. In the first email I sent to Jim after my return home, I told him that I planned to write about my trip East for my writers’ group and said, “I have a dilemma: do I or do I not mention the kiss?” He was very forthcoming in his answer, so I don’t think he’ll mind if I quote him verbatim:

        Dear soft-lips: You have to mention the kiss. It undoubtedly had to have been the shortest kiss in your illustrious kissing background with those with more than a passing interest in your life. I would like a second chance. I know I can do better. I truly was taken aback with the tenderness of that brief spontaneous exchange. Actually, on my part the “move” was not that unplanned. I had been thinking of such an exchange and pondered briefly discussing the possibility with you via email. I decided “no”– — better to let nature run its course.

        Right after receiving this email, I took a 2 1/2–week trip. When I returned home, I found myself very busy and didn’t get around to emailing Jim until almost two months after I received his last email. I apologized profusely, assuring him that I thought of him often; nevertheless, I received no response. Then, conformity be damned, even though it was his turn to email me, I sent Jim an email on Christmas day. Still not having heard from him, I sent another email on January 14th. Okay, Jim, I get it – I made you wait almost two months for an email, but come on, I sent you three emails. Doesn’t that count for something?

        My Email Correspondent 2

        I decided to Google Jim to find out if he’d written any columns recently for the newspaper. There was nothing new written by Jim, but something written about him. According to his obituary, Jim “passed away peacefully the evening of January 6, 2016, as a consequence of heart failure,” after “being stricken” eight weeks prior. So he never received any of my last three emails, and he’ll never get that second chance to “do better.”

        I always say: the internet gives us all sorts of information, some good and some bad. I’ll take the bad with the good, though, because without the internet I would not have formed a warm friendship with this very special man.

        Lois McKinney
        January 20, 2016

        Reply

      • Lois

        May 22, 2021 at 9:25 am

        My Other Story: Lambda Pi Alpha

        When I was in junior high school, I was part of a group of girls who were inseparable, doing just about everything together. One of us suggested that we were just like a college sorority, so we decided to create our very own sorority. We called ourselves Lambda Pi Alpha. We weren’t allowed to tell anyone what that stood for, but I believe the statute of limitations will allow me to break that rule, so I’ll disclose that it was “Loyal Pals Always.” We had regular meetings at each others’ homes, where refreshments were served and we’d sit around and talk. The few who knew anything about sex or reproduction would share their limited knowledge with the rest of us, as we’d utter phrases such as “Eeww, gross” or “Uh-uh – that can’t be right.” Once in a while someone would say “Well, I’m looking forward to it,” but for the most part our reactions were negative. Other than sharing information and misinformation, talking about boys, gossiping, giggling, and eating, we really didn’t accomplish much. We did talk occasionally about doing something philanthropic but I can’t remember that we ever did.

        Lois McKinney
        March 30, 2015

        Reply

  6. Ed

    May 22, 2021 at 9:05 am

    VERY moving narrative, Mr. Pascual. You seamlessly covered many aspects of friendship and it will serve to remind us of are many friends, past and present…

    Lennon’s In My Life was inspired by his deceased, close friend, Stu Sutcliffe.

    Reply

  7. Edward

    May 22, 2021 at 9:19 am

    This was easily one of your best!

    The night of my mother’s passing I spoke of all the relatives she’ll be seeing in heaven. She had been unable to speak for some time, but suddenly kept repeating I LOVE IT.

    BTW my lonely brother in Seattle just lost his dog to cancer. Though he’s not particularly religious I went ahead telling him that you’ll meet again in heaven. Not sure if it helped, but the conversation helped me in confirming my belief in heaven…

    Reply

    • Raoul

      May 22, 2021 at 9:28 am

      That’s a beautiful memory of your Mom. You must have been very close to her. God allowed you to witness that to give you an assurance that our life is so short and that heaven is waiting for you to be with her again.

      Yes, in this life our world view may not be always the right one. No one can be dogmatic about who is right or wrong. My own seems to explain everything that goes on — the way people behave, why some suffer and some don’t, why greed, trauma or addiction deadens one’s conscience. To me this is all explained in the Bible. That book truly is the living word of God. How I wish others can see what I see. I’m sorry but that’s why the gospel is such a passion for me.

      I’m sorry for your brother’s loss. I’m sure it’s the same loss you feel for your own dog, Cedric. Imperfect though he may have been, that dog loved you and your wife and he knew that you loved him too.

      Yes, I believe you can say dogs go to heaven. No scripture verse actually says that but I tend to agree with this writer, Shelby Turner. Her conclusion:

      Heaven is better than we know. Therefore, it is entirely possible, that because of the joy and happiness animals bring, God will bring them into eternity with us.

      We won’t know until we get there whether or not our animals will be with us in heaven, but we can be assured that whether they are or not, we aren’t going to feel any lack or longing! God’s presence will be enough!

      https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/do-dogs-go-to-heaven.html

      TGIF Edward!

      Reply

  8. Bob

    May 22, 2021 at 9:20 am

    Wow Bro. I never knew you are such a good writer. satirical in composition. funny you remember my pimples😁. they are a few traces left thank to new derma technology. Seriously I do hope Tabby accepted our Lord Jesus as his savior and repented. To God be all the Glory🙂

    Reply

  9. Ernie

    May 29, 2021 at 2:19 pm

    Rest in peace, Teddy. He was a good man. Lost his way. i still think of him. Like you, i helped him, then cut him off. Told him to seek help. Even when we got together (twice) with other batch mates, he was always talking about “chicks”.

    Prayers, Raoul.

    – ernie

    Reply

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