Saturday, August 21, 2010

My Buddy Dave

You can tell a lot about a man by the friends he keeps. When I married my husband, I got some pretty good buddies, especially Dave.

Dave was a relatively short, bald-headed, man with a smile that made me feel instantly loved. He never judged me--not even in my young and dumb years. He quietly stood in the wings ready to be of true Christian service every time we called "uncle," which was pretty much every time we worked on a household project.

My husband is a good man with some wonderful qualities--none of them involving a hammer or power tool. Danny and I would try our best to complete a household project and then call Dave to rescue us from ourselves. There is not a single room in our home that doesn't have Dave's stamp on it.

Among the many projects that Dave helped with at our home: A new roof, plumbing problems, ceiling fan installations, kitchen fan installation, kitchen cupboard installation, setting toilets in both bathrooms, and much more. I had painted around the huge valance in my living room several times, and one time I decided it would be easier to paint it if I took it down. It never occurred to me that if I stood on the ladder and took the screws out at one end that it would come crashing to the floor from the other side! I had no idea how heavy the thing was. As it came crashing down, it brought big chunks of the ceiling with it. Time to call Dave. In no time the ceiling was replastered, painted, and the valance was firmly attached.

We built an addition to our home, and that meant curtain rods had to be installed in the family room and in my new bedroom. I actually did a pretty good job of installing them myself. Then I made a crucial mistake. I followed my mother's example and put the curtains up wet so that they wouldn't have to be ironed. The problem was, I had very heavy thermoguard curtains in the bedroom at that time. The extra weight from the water in the drapes sent my curtain rods crashing to the floor--taking huge chunks of plaster from my brand new bedroom walls with it. As I lay on the floor crying like a baby, Danny called Dave.

Then there was my redecorating stage. I watched every show on television about how to redecorate a home on a budget. The time came to build my own headboard. I'm actually pretty good at crafts, and I built a really cool headboard. When it was finished, I looked at it and had an "Oh crap!" moment. It never occurred to me that this huge, heavy headboard would have to be picked up from my living room floor, carried to my bedroom, lifted up, and somehow mounted to my bedroom wall. Yep, time to call Dave.

In addition to his handyman skills, Dave was a master at making me see someone else's viewpoint. He never judged me, but gently guided me. He was a friend to me even when I was my worst self.

One night Danny and I were talking, and Danny made a slip of the tongue and stopped short. I pried and pried until he finally realized he was not going to get any peace until he fessed up to me. There had been a little conspiracy for a number of years between Danny and Dave. Dave had been single for years. At some point, apparently, Danny made Dave promise that if anything happened to Danny, Dave would marry me and take care of me. It never occurred to either one of them that I might have something to say about the matter!

Dave had a gift for remembering my birthday--which is amazing since it falls right before Christmas when everyone is busy. Dave never forgot my birthday. He always gave me a card. In all the years I knew Dave, he never mailed my birthday card. He came by the house and delivered the card himself. He took time out of the busy holiday season to come personally. One year he came when I was putting up the outdoor Christmas lights. I had been standing in the cold for a couple of hours, and was finally finishing up the lights on the orange tree when Dave drove up. Unfortunately, Danny wasn't home. Dave was too much of a gentleman to come in the house when Danny wasn't there, so we stood in the bitter cold under the orange tree and talked until the two of us almost had frost bite!

Dave is now in a happier place. He may have lost his battle with cancer, but I'm sure he's won the hearts of angels. We will miss you, Dave. Keep things stirred up until I get there, will you? God be with you 'till we meet again.

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