a friend you wished you had met earlier.
“Only in the trenches during the artillery fire had I come so close to other people.
Today’s blog is very personal. It will be about a man who is no longer with us, but who left solid imprints before he died. I do not even know if I can call him friend. I had not known him for a long time. But still, he made an impression on me, long before he got sick.
He was actually the husband of a friend of my wife. We first met him many years ago. Even then, I realized that this was a guy who lived life to the fullest. Although it’s a cliché, this guy lived with the boy inside him all the time. He introduced me to a phenomenon called crosscar as an example.
They were only on a short visit, but he was eager to show me the car. I just “had to” try it. We drove to a field near where I live, unloaded the crosscart from the trailer and I got to spin around. 15 minutes of ecstasy for a man who loves speed and cars with an incredible torque. I had no training, the crosscart was super expensive and I could have ruined a lot, but still he let me keep on – just because he wanted me to.
That’s how he was. All the time. Always inclusive. Nothing was too difficult. Solution-oriented and on the supply side constantly.
And he seemed to like it.
He was also a multi-artist. Countless things he had put together and fixed and arranged on the farm where he, his wife and his son lived. He made and put together and fixed countless experiences for his son and the boy’s friends.
If you had a technical / practical problem – he always had a solution to it.
We visited them on a couple of occasions the last two summers. These were the summers that one often remembers from childhood. Beautiful sun, a comforting heat, swimming in water, good evenings with food and drink and good conversations.
He had become seriously ill by now. A disease that gradually made it harder to eat, the pain came and went, but still he was present all the time.
I remember on one occasion when he and I went for a walk in the woods. We passed a cabin he had built on the property, continued to a lookout point, where we saw the entire valley in front of us. From horizon to horizon. He was very ill at this time. A total package of poison in the body to curb tumors and an unbearable pain as a result of the poison’s ravages was a bad combo for a fragile human organism. Still, he had more energy in his body than me, as we walked mile after mile.
I remember we talked together. About life and death. Only in the trenches during the artillery fire had I come so close to other people.
My friend had become wise from his illness. A wisdom most of us never achieve during a long life. He had settled his bill a long time ago and put into words things that for the rest of us are taboo.
Luckily, I got to spend those hours with him. I have experienced a lot in my life, but this moment is one of the most memorable I take with me.
Rest in peace, Clive.
BTW: The picture is actually of his dog, taken on one of those nice hot summer days.
(Or who do you want to be at the age of 96?) Restarting your life (or reinventing it), sounds like an American “pull yourself together”
Everything written in these pages is based on personal experience. Overall, this is the way I remember what happened. And everything, of course, is based on