Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Men in My Life~Part 2

 Kim Webb,  My First Best Friend

  I started the series on the Men in My Life with my father.  There were a few other great men in my younger days, my grandpa was one of those great men.  He died with I was really young,  but he made a great impression on my life.  He was a strong man who had handled many hardships in his life and overcame them to become a talented, hard working, very well respected person.   He could do everything from construction, to writing poetry.  He was a artist and owned cafe's in the 40's.  He could do anything, and anything he did he did well.  He lived a hard life,  but as a Grandpa he was amazing.

    Other men that made in impression in my life while I was growing up was my uncle, his best friend, my 6th grade school teacher, and his best friend.  They were great men who had a positive influence on me and loved me.  

    The sad thing was I didn't really have a friend my age during school.  I had a couple of friends that were fair weather friends.  When there was nothing better to do I was there for them.  It was a hard time.  I longed to have a good friend.  My friends were mostly the waitresses where I worked and they were work friends, meaning that at work they were friends, but outside of work there was no relationship. It was understandable, they were way older then me and had families and lives.  I started working as a busboy at age twelve.  The waitresses and people I worked had a great influence on my life, they taught me how to work and forced me to deal with people.  In that world I was accepted and  did well.  Outside of work it was hard,  I didn't relate with anyone my age and I think that working with all those women in the restaurants I learned to associate with older people.  I was comfortable with them and pretty much was accepted by them.

    So needless to say grade school and high school were dismal, lonely times for me.  I finished high school with not one close friend.  I knew a lot of people in the town where I lived, but none accepted me and thought of me as a friend.

    I still remember the night I met Kim Webb.  It was after high school,  I was at a youth dance in Holbrook, Az.  It was a young adult dance.  This man walks up to me and asked me for a ride home.  After that dance and the ride home, we were inseparable for the next year.  After that night every place I went he went, and every place he went I went.  I don't remember him not being there for the next year.

    Kim Webb was absolutely everything I wanted to be.  Handsome, funny, talented, happy, confident, popular, spiritual, and every other good thing you can think of.  I adored him.  He was a return missionary, and every mother wanted their daughter to marry him and I could not imagine why he wanted to hang out with me.  But he did and I adored him for it.   It was a hero worship from the start.

    The thing about Kim Webb was that I could just be me with him and he never judged me. He liked me for just who I was from the start.  He never made fun of me, never called me a name, never made me feel stupid.   From the first moment we met we were best friends.  From the very first moment we met we knew each other.  There was never a getting to know you phase, we knew each other from the start.  He was amazing.  I was everything he wasn't,  or at least I thought I was.  I had absolutely no self confidence,  I was unhappy,  had no friends, had no clue how to be a friend.  It was a new experience for me.  He loved me completely without question from the start.  With him I knew I was someone special and with him I felt like someone. With him I felt important.

     Kim Webb knew how to be a friend and he taught me how to be a friend.  He was always there for me and I knew as his friend I was important.  I had never felt that way before in my entire life.  From the very first moment we started hanging out, I just knew he loved me and I was important to him.  It was  the most amazing and important thing that could have happened to me at the time of my life and proved to be one of the most important friendships of my life.

    Often times in life we have no clue how our actions will effect those we come in contact with.  I think that about my friendship with Kim Webb.  He had no clue at the time he chose to be my friend that it was the most important event to happen in my life that would change my course forever.  His friendship was the most important event to happen to me up to that point of my life.

   That year I spent with him before I left to serve a mission was by far the best year of my life.  I had a friend, someone who loved me and understood me in every way.  That summer I had just gotten active in the Mormon faith and was preparing to serve a mission.  It was a hard year for me, but a joyful year.   I had a lot to over come before I left on my mission, and I would have never done it with out Kim Webb's love and support.

     It was great experience for me to have a friend like that.  I still think he was paid to be there, but he denies it.  Through his friendship and example I gained the confidence I needed to go on a mission.  We spent so much time together and he taught me by example and deed.   I would go with him to his work and he would come to and helped me at my work.  If I was struggling at work all I had to do was call him and he made it better.  He would talk me through it and I would be okay.    His family accepted me as a son, brother, and friend. I knew when I was there with his family I was loved completely.  Where ever he went I was there tagging along, from family events to single young adult events, I was his constant shadow.  Every thing important that happened to me that year he was there.  We traveled together, when to church together,  worked together, played together, and grew together.

    I fondly remember going to work with him.  He drove a logging truck so we had to get up really early.  It was hard work and I hardly got any sleep because I got of work just a few hours before, but I didn't mind,  I was just glad to spend time with him.  I loved going to work with him.  Sitting in the truck with him as it bumped along on the dirt roads.  It was bouncy and crazy,  but I was with my friend.   I would just sit and stare at him.  I adored him in every way.  One of the things that I loved about him was how happy he always was.  He never got mad or discouraged.  True story,  one day the truck broke down.  He fixed it and just a few hours later the fan went through the radiator.   He just laughed and took it in stride.  I was so amazed.  I would have been furious in every way, but not Kim Webb, he just laughed it off and started over again.  That was how he handled everything,  with a positive outlook on life, no matter the circumstance.

    He would work hard all day and if he knew I was having a hard time, which was most of the time he would show up at my job at 10:00 at night and help me.  I remember one really hard night at work.  I was in tears just crying and crying.  He called me on the phone and talked me out of the mood and a while later he was at my work helping me.  I could count on him.  The fact that I called and cried like a baby never bothered him,  he just took it in stride and never once made me feel stupid.

   Oh how I adored him and loved every moment spent with him.  As I look back, I must have been so needy.  Constantly dealing with my ups and downs.  He always knew how to make me happy.  On a trip to Conference I was having a really hard time, as I often did due to the total lack of self confidence I dealt with.  This particular night I was in a mood and feeling so sorry for myself and Kim Webb just sang to me.  I still remember the song he sung to me.  It was "I feel sad when your sad, I feel glad when your glad,  If you only new what I'm going through,  I just can't smile without you". etc.  I love that song, because it reminds me of a friend that cared for me so much.  That was how it was with him, he always new just what to do to make me smile and happy.

     His friendship was vital to my preparation for a mission.  He told me stories of his mission and taught me how to be a good missionary.  He gave me the confidence that I could do it.  He believed in my when at that time of my life I felt no one else did.  I had many obstacles to over come that year and with each one he was there to assist me.  From getting over bad habits to creating good habits, he was there to teach and instruct, and I never once ever felt judged my him.  He never once condemned me for a problem,  but he did encourage me to be better and had the confidence in me that I could do it.

   As I got closer to leaving for my mission the hardest part for me was I knew I would not see Kim for two years.  I hated leaving him.  To have a best friend like that was so precious to me that I could not stand the thought of losing him.  The night before I left we sat out side the home where I was staying and this is how it went down.

I was crying, no sobbing,
Kim was patiently seated in the drivers seat.
Sob "Will you still be my friend when I get home,"  Sob sob.
"Yes I will still be your friend when you get home"  Kim gently assured me.
Silent for a moment, except for my sobs.
"Are you sure?"  I choked out between more sobs.
"Yes I am sure." Kim promised.
Silent for a longer moment as I considered this between more sobs.  And the more I thought about leaving him the harder I cried.
"WHAT IF YOU GET MARRIED."  I cried out hysterically.
More patience from Kim as he answered with kindness, "Even if I get married we will still be friends."  He promised again.
"Are you sure?" I cried again.
"Yes I am sure"  he gently said again.
Still sobbing I considered this and asked many more questions to make sure that he understood that he had no choice, he was going to be my friend when I got home.  This went on for at least one hour and finally I got control enough after his constant assurances that he would be there for me that I went in the house, still not completely certain that I would be okay.

     My mission was hard.  Many times I wanted to quit and come home.  The one thing that kept me trying was that I knew if I came home early I would disappoint Kim and that, I would not do.  So I would just keep trying because I knew that at least one person in my life knew that I could succeed and believed in me.  I was not worried about disappointing anyone else,  in my eyes they all knew I was a failure, but Kim believed in me.  I wrote him every week with out fail and his letters always came at just the right time when I needed them most,  always full of encouraging words that helped me push to the end.

    And sure enough when I got home from my mission two years later he was my friend, only the friendship was deeper and sweeter  then before.  It has been 37 years since we met and our friendship has grown in sweetness and depth and is a constant blessing to me.  The wonderful thing is the circle has grown to include our families and friends.

    Kim Webb.  I still adore you and when we are together,  I still can't keep my eyes off you.   You are the perfect friend, brother, teacher, and example to me.  Through you I have learned what a friend really is and can be.

Thank you.  Brad

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