I’m Remembering a friend who had a profound impression on me.
I walked down the block to stretch my legs and noticed to my left that a guy was painting a garage in a newly built house. The smell of latex paint assailed my nostrils as I approached the open door. “Working hard or hardly working?” I said. He turned from the wall he was painting and smiled, and said “this ain’t work for me.” As soon as he turned I knew that I knew him “Hay, man don’t I know you?” “You look familiar to me too.” What’s your name?” “Joe Caro” “I’m Bruce Bailey” “Bruce, don’t you remember me. I use to come to your Mothers house in tiger with Gayo.” I had not seen Bruce since 1967. I had come to his MaMa’s, the last time I saw him for a hog killing. She made souce and hoghead cheese, best I have ever had then or since it was Sweet, succulent, peppery gelatinous, with just the right hint of garlic and parsley. Bruce and I talked about our mutual friends all afternoon, needless to say he didn’t finish the garage that day. I invited him to my home down the block for lunch. We continued to talk about his uncle “Jabo” whom I knew as Walter. From this chance encounter our conversation flowed like we had not been out of touch with each other these 40 plus years. A friendship forged in childhood reborn in middle age, like renewal of our collective spirit. From this encounter we went on to collaborate on a couple of construction projects which made use a large sum of money when we both needed it most. I’m sad to say that I lost my friend to cancer during one of our projects in Garyville, La. He indicated that he could not work anymore, would I take him home. His Wife called to tell me she had taken him to the Doctors and they had found tumors in his chest walls. I was devastated. Here I had found my friend only to lose him so soon after our reunion. He was all the things one would want in a friend, trustworthy, loyal , helpful, friendly , courteous, kind, and had a deep reverence for God and his creations. I still today get emotional when I speak or think of the friend I lost.