Dennis W. Lid
It was a normal, late afternoon weekday just after I got home from work when the doorbell rang. By the time I got to the door, opened it and looked to see who was there, the two-feet-square box on the front stoop was the only strange object in sight. The UPS truck that delivered the package caught my eye as it powered up the road and rounded the corner at the end of the block. I don’t receive many parcels, so this was a rather unique experience. Who in the world would be sending something to me? I hadn’t ordered or purchased anything of late. As I picked up the box, I noticed the name in the return address as that of a friend from the past.
Don and I were not the closest of comrades, but were rather good acquaintances from our working days in Japan. Our wives were chums, and our relationship was derived from that of our spouses. So began an association that would last for the rest of our lives. We frequently visited with one another over coffee or at church services and other social events during the course of our duties for the U.S. Government in Japan. Then Don and Monica moved back to Arizona in the United States and retired from government service. We were out of touch for the next few years except for occasional e-mail contact.
Don was a fisherman; I was a motorcyclist. The only common thread there was a love of the outdoors. Our wives’ common denominator was their Asian background as well as their love of gambling. Once a year we would vacation for four days together in Las Vegas. That was our primary means of keeping in touch. It worked well for a few years, and then it was our turn to retire from government service. We returned to the States and visited with Don and Monica in Arizona before proceeding to Southern California as our location of choice for retirement. Within a few years of that occurrence, we received some bad news from Don. His wife, Monica, had passed away from stomach cancer. Don was selling the house and moving to Seattle to be near his youngest daughter and her husband. All of that was accomplished in short order.
Enroute to Seattle, Don passed through La Quinta, California and stopped for a short overnight visit with us. He gave us a ceramic flower arrangement made in Naples, Italy that was Monica’s favorite. He said that she wanted us to have it. This was just the latest example of their generosity and friendship. Once before, while Monica was alive, they visited briefly and gave us a statue of the Blessed Mother as a present. Such was their magnanimity. It left us speechless and greatly humbled. It wasn’t just these gestures, but the giving of themselves, their efforts and their time throughout our relationship that was so impressive and unforgettable. Don proceeded to Seattle and we have had only e-mail contact over the past few years, except for the package that arrived recently.
I opened the package and removed its contents. It was a gift from Don, our fisherman friend. He knew how keen I was on motorcycles. At a department store up North, Don saw this item and thought that his friend, the motorcyclist, just had to have it. He bought it, packaged it with love and tender care and sent it to his motorcycle friend as a gift from “out of the blue.” It sits on our end table in the living room next to the fireplace. It is a lamp, about two feet tall, with an oval motorcycle shade and illuminated base holding a scale model of a 2006 Harley Davidson Heritage Softail with functioning head and tail lights when the night light is activated. When the main lamp is lit, the sound of the mighty Harley V-Twin is heard throughout the room as it revs its way to life before returning to its former silent and dormant self. Now that’s one considerate friend. And he is a fisherman, not a biker.
What we have learned and cherish from all the forgoing is that the real gift is not the motorcycle lamp or the other presents that preceded the Harley Davidson Lamp. The real gift is Monica and Don’s friendship throughout all these years. This is the gift my wife and I cherish most of all. God bless our friends, both living and dead. Remember the fisherman’s gift, my motorcyclist friends. Preserve the biker camaraderie with kindness, considerateness, generosity and sincere friendship forever.
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