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A good friend lost
As happens once in a while, a friend from a few years back contacts me to catch up, touch base, say hello. My website and my listing in the alumni page at the University of Dayton School of Law leave a trail there for anyone who might care to find me and speak with me. Careful planning makes it so, unfortunately and for a number of reasons I don't often try to find old friends and old classmates. A LexisNexis search, a run through Google or a look through the alumni directory would be sufficient for me to find anyone I would desire to find but I don't do it. There is always time. Time sometime later to make that small effort. So as a result I don't look up people. There is always time right? Yah. Well a friend of mine, Marc did take the time to look me up and it was good to hear from him. In our emails back and forth he mentions a fellow classmate, Andy Johnson or as was the running joke for us "Andy's Johnson."
Andy was a tall, gangly fellow with the disposition of a puppy. We'd constantly make our "Andy's Johnson," clever remarks and he'd smile and never took offense and we never meant any. He was a fellow who seemed not to have a hostile bone in his body and it seemed to me that it would never occur to him to say a bad word about anyone. When he would talk it seemed like he was always laughing even when he wasn't. A smile on his face and he'd always be genuinely glad to see you. When he would tell a joke it was like he was a little kid saying something he knew that grownups would disapprove of so his jokes or something funny were told only after he looked around to make sure that someone who might take offense would be out of earshot.
At the end of a long hard week in class he'd come down to
the local watering hole that some of us had taken as our own. BW3's on
Friday after class was where we would grab some hot wings, some happy
hour beer and we'd pull some tables together, enough to accommodate however
many of us would show up. Andy would laugh with us and we'd talk about
what funny things happened in class. Sometimes he'd get a bit excited,
a beer or two down the evening and when he wanted to say something and
his words were tripping around on his tongue his eyes would sparkle and
the smile on his face would broaden as if to acknowledge that he thought
he was being a bit foolish or silly. But we would slap him on his back,
laugh at his jokes and generally do the things that friends would do with
each other as we recognize everyone who would want to be in the conversation
and who would likewise have a patience and joy with us.
There is no question in my mind that life is not fair. Evil people live and prosper, good people who struggle and fight to get ahead in life die in car accidents. Life is short and brutish and it's a sack full of misery, pain, horror and suffering. A person like Andy makes you almost believe that isn't true, his warm smile and good heart carved a bit of hope and kindness into the world and he will be missed.