By Bruce Stambaugh
There are friends, and then there are friends.
Dave and I have been friends for a lifetime. Given our age, that’s a long time. Just to be clear, Dave is several months older than me.
Growing up, we lived just a few blocks apart, though we didn’t necessarily run in the same gangs in our northeast Ohio neighborhood. In the 1950s, that meant we didn’t have the same circle of friends.
Still, we’ve been best buddies since grade school. We were in several classes together in our elementary school that overflowed with baby boomers. We have lots of fun memories from good old Edgefield School.
Not only that, but we also went to the same junior high school, high school, and college together. Shoot. We even majored in the same subject, journalism. Dave focused on marketing. I chose news writing.
A funny thing happened on the way to life. After completing our internships, his for a non-profit agency and mine at a major metropolitan newspaper, neither of us pursued that career.
We both ended up in rural Holmes Co., Ohio. Though neither of us was certified, we both became elementary teachers. Dave began his education career at Millersburg, Ohio. I started at nearby Killbuck.
Dave married the love of his life the first year he taught. I married during my second year of pedagogy to a beautiful woman I knew all of nine months. That was 45 years ago.
Guess who our best man was? Yep. Dave. Today, his wife and my wife are also best friends, two of a kind, kind of like Dave and me.
Dave and Kate had a girl and a boy. Neva and I had a girl and boy. We were even in the same Lamaze class together.
Now, no one would ever mistake Dave for me or me for Dave. I’m much more handsome than he is, and more modest too. Dave does have a better head of hair than me, which wouldn’t take much.
Dave and I came from similar God-fearing, middle-class families. His fine folks worked hard to ensure their two sons would contribute in the post-World War II world. Mine did the same, only with five raucous rascals to point in the right direction.
Our parents instilled in us good manners, proper eating habits, and to keep the Sabbath like any good, church-going folks would. That meant after Sunday services, we played ball, went fishing or washed the car.
Dave and I dressed alike, too. Hand-me-down flannel shirts and blue jeans were appropriate for many occasions. That trait followed us into adulthood in an uncanny way.
On more than one occasion, Dave and I have shown up at the same event dressed as if we had agreed on the dress code before leaving. We didn’t.
Recently, we arranged to meet for dinner before attending a concert by Sonnenberg Station in Wooster, Ohio.
Right on cue, mostly thanks to our prompt wives, we arrived within minutes of each other. Dave had on a light blue shirt, dark blue sweater, beige khakis, and brown shoes. So did I.
When my wife told Dave’s wife that I was having a colonoscopy, Kate responded, “So is Dave!” The same day. Dave and I just laughed, until the preparations began.
I’m happy to report that we had the same results. We both see our gastroenterologists next in 2026.
I hope each of you have a friend like Dave. I hope you get a good report on your colonoscopy, too.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2016