Sunday, March 05, 2017


He sat quietly next to me in Mr. Ahn's design class, quietly paying attention to the young lady sitting in front of me. Mr. Ahn, our instructor was covering the coming year and what we could expect to study as future designers. After checking out the young lady, Phil, as we all got to know him as, started up a conversation that took us into the future forever more. Those first words spoken between us were the beginning of a friendship that has lasted for over 50 years!

There are few people in this world I would give the title ‘Best Friend" too. There was Dad who did his best to help me get through college however he could, and of course, there is Phil, Phil is my brother, my best friend, the guy that always is there for me and I give him the same treatment.

I remember when my son died, and I walked slowly into the funeral parlor, and as I looked across the parking lot in a daze that first time entering the main door, I could see Phil, stepping out of his car. To me that was a great comfort, it was another family member who came to help me get through the worst nightmare a parent can have. He didn't need to say anything, his being there for me and Ellen said it all.

When Dad was dying, it was Phil who came out and sat with me next to Dad, and Dad was happy for those few moments Phil was there. Every day before Mother's Day, my mother received a greeting card from Phil, and every phone call from Phil comes with a: "How's your mom?"

I'm sure we all have friends like Phil, best friends that is, but Phil is really a perfect friend. We have shared for almost 50 years, pain, sorry, anguish, joy, happiness, and the greatest occasions ever in our lives. We can measure our lives in periods of time, in events and in smiles and tears, beautiful moments that will never go away for me and hopefully there will be much more.

And so, Happy Birthday Phil, in all your imperfections as a human being, you perfected the art of being a friend, more importantly, you do it for nothing, you only gain my friendship and deep love. May you live a long and happy life and know that for the last over 50 years, my life has been a lucky life because I know you.

Some people are just born lucky, they can form a friendship and it lasts forever.

There are many things in my life I value, including life itself. I have mementos that have lasted almost from childhood, pictures that go beyond my childhood, and memories, ah, the memories!

There is only one thing I find as an intangible and that is friendship. I appreciate good people and there is one I truly love, my best man, godfather to my daughter and fellow screwball, my good friend Phil.

Somewhat like a misguided Soupy Sales complete with the dance moves of the ‘Mouse'.

He has made me laugh so hard I cried and cried so hard it's funny.

Once on a Saturday night, we were driving in the Bronx to meet some young ladies. It was dark and the streets were busy and we needed to get across this boulevard packed with cars. As we crossed the road we discovered we were going the wrong way on a one-way street, and of course got pulled over. My good buddy was driving his 1965 mercury convertible and feeling good. The cop comes to the car and says: "You know you were driving the wrong way on a one-way street on a 30-mile per hour zone doing 60?" Phil answered him: "Yes orsiffer, but I was doing 60 because I wasn't coming back!

Today is his birthday, he turns old and will join the club. It serves him right, he pulled too many pranks on people, unsuspecting, good people like his wife and myself, people who don't deserve it. But his best prank is being my friend. I love the challenge and cherish all the times we've had doing the crazy things we did. The consequences are just a lot of great memories!


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