Two Best Friends

by Lolo Anderson


Not all my friends were female, just most.

  Two Best Friends

By: Lolo Anderson

We have been given the commandment to love one another, even as HE has loved us. Brotherly love is a powerful thing that can overcome many obstacles. The brotherly love that comes from the HOLY SPIRIT is not subject to any laws given by man.

I have been so blessed with so many wonderful friends all my life. From the cousins I learning to walk with together as babies to my final GOD loving work manager, Dave Ramos before my retirement. My entire life I can only claim two specific men as my best friends.

Both of my best friends are at the complete opposite ends between good and bad. It is time to write down the things I will want to remember about these two best friends before they are gone.

Dave was my very best friend during the very best times and the worst times of my marriage to my first wife. In fact, Dave and my wife were also very good friends. Dave was extremely shy and introverted. My wife would be the only one to pull him off his bar stool to get him to dance with her.

Dave had a full red beard and nothing less than a curly redheaded afro. I do not remember how we hit it off or even when it all began. We first became friends at work but much more than work soon after Dave needed my help.

Dave had done a tour in Germany with the US Army as a “Gun Bunny”. It was at the height of the cold war. It was both stressful and boring all at the same time. He had alcohol issues before Germany. After Germany it was more pot and LSD to help him get through the days.

He managed to get dried out enough to get hired on at PG&E. Worked hard and became a journeyman lineman. Worked on the 500kv inter-tie, clipping in dead-ends and hard angles.

Dave was the lead lineman in the yard when I transferred in as a groundman. I know we hit it off right away and we got to know each other pretty well. I knew he had trouble controlling his beer drinking but he was always at work every day.

I started to go to the bar after work with him and we had such fun all of the time. After work several guys would go to this same bar hanging over the Noyo river. Most of their wives would also come down sometimes and party in the middle of the week. Weekends the bar was packed. Mid-week it was like a private party every day. Laughing and dancing with each other wives it was a lot of fun.

Then Dave asked me and my wife over to his house to watch a basketball game on TV. Next thing I remember me and my sweet sexy wife were high as a kite from a couple of puffs on Dave’s bong. First time we had ever smoked pot in our lives. Don’t remember anything about the basketball game but wow the music Dave had turned us both on to. My wife insisted we buy a new stereo and speakers the next day. Still enjoy music ever since that day in a whole new way.

The details are not important to this story but sometime later, Dave’s marriage started to fall apart. Dave started to drink more and miss work more. Being his closest friend, I would meet with him in the woods and on the ocean bluffs to try to talk him back to work.

The company made him either go to a drug and alcohol treatment center or get fired. I was blessed to be able to meet with him everyday for the next month. The first few days was the hardest for him. I witnessed to difference between emotional addiction and a chemical addiction. He was in such pain and shook all of the time.

Later it was more emotional and less physical but still our spirits joined like no other brother since then. I never realized just how much I learned about drugs and alcohol abuse and seen the affect up close and personal. Not just with Dave but several others in the same treatment center. Made immediate friends with the counselors. Memorized the 12 steps to help the class say them each meeting. Dave was only one of about 2 dozen others who life was being exposed and talked about in the therapy sessions.

The consoler would wait to call on me at just the right time. I got to tell the stories about my Christian foster home or maybe how I fell in love with 3 little orphan girls. It was a county run facility but faith in GOD was always encouraged. The whole group knew I was not a proclaimed alcoholic like all the rest. They knew I was just there visiting my friend Dave.

Only way to get Dave to attend the required AA meetings after he was released was drag him with you and sit right by his side. Our friendship grew even deeper after his first 30-day visit for help.

Then Dave’s marriage hit rock bottom and the separated. Splitting up with his wife he might have been able to withstand. Loosing custody and a close relationship with his son was more that he could control. There was no controlling his drinking and he was given one last free 30-day dry-out or again be fired from work. This time it was in St. Helena up on a ridge over looking the Napa Valley vineyards. This was nothing like the county facility before. This was like a villa in Europe with all the class and beauty. This facility was run by the 7th day Adventist Church and religion and GOD was central to their program.

I could only visit Dave on weekends but they were very special visits. The first Saturday visit was after Dave had gone through days of de-tox. Dave was ready to sit in the garden and talk to me. Soon we were joined by a counselor and Dave began to open up to her for the first time. Just like in the County facility I became good friends with Dave’s counselor. Only this time we would pray together both holding Dave’s hands.

Dave had hit his bottom and we had hoped that he would have the strength to overcome his addictions. I prayed with his counselor but we both knew it was up to Dave. The bottom is when you know to continue will take your life. Dave was killing himself because he wanted to.

Dave came away from St. Helena and was able to meet the challenge. I do not think he ever stopped drinking or smoking pot. I know he was able to control it and maintain his very difficult lineman job for many years after St. Helena. Dave never confessed to be a Christian or anything like that. Dave never gave me any indication that he even knew JESUS much less loved HIM.

I don’t remember if it was Dave lead me or just me but for what ever reason I drifted away from the LORD’S path for my life with Dave. All my life I had been such a goodie-two shoes. I actually did not drink my first beer until I was 30 years old. I think I really wanted to see what the other life was like. What was I missing? Another driver was my wife was in the same place in her life. All of our friends were so jealous of our marriage and Dave was our best friend. It was not all Dave that drew us away from GOD’s path.

Yes, I still prayed with him in the hospital and he knew all about my Christian background. Maybe at first, I just wanted to gain his acceptance by not being a goodie two shoes. Doesn’t matter now, I have accepted full responsibility for the sins I committed against GOD, my wife and to my body in those days. Even more important I have asked for and HE has given me HIS complete forgiveness.

Dave was my best friend during my walk far away from GOD. Yet my brotherly love for Dave has endured. Years later I received a call from our old boss telling me Dave was dying in the hospital. Dave refused to see me and the next day he walked out of the hospital to die at home alone. I had completely failed my very best friend. I was not given the opportunity to even pray with him as he left us. Can’t help know it was my un-holy walk that prevented me from being the example GOD would have wanted me to be.

Then my other best friend, Dwight. The complete opposite of Dave.

The second-best friend is a much brighter story. Dwight is a solid Christian man that loves GOD as much as I do. There will be no question if Dwight will be in heaven with me. My physical walk with Dwight extends over my first two wives. His beautiful wife Doris and my sweet wife Phyllis were the very best of friends also. Our 2 children and his 5 kids were like all one big happy family. He was an elder at our Church and my wife and I were youth sponsors for several years at Napa in the 1970s.

We both enjoyed reading HIS word and praying together at church. The brotherly love we shared will last into eternity in heaven. Dwight was my Christian brother and I was his.

Dwight was first of all a GODLY father. He loved his 5 children and my 2 children the same. The girls would take turns even fight to sit on his lap when he told them stories. There was always at least 7 kids ages between 10 and 3 to split between Dwight and me. They would sit next to us or be held on our lap while he told his stories or watched a Disney movie on the TV. He would tell them Bible stories sometimes to practice for his Sunday School lessons.

Dwight was also an outdoors, hunter type friend. I had done all my hunting and fishing years before I met Dwight. Never did actually go hunting with Dwight. Brother, could he tell stories about his hunting.

He was a very early member of Ducks Unlimited. He was an avid duck hunter. Loved to go duck hunting all up and down the central valley. His stories were so colorful and descriptive that it seemed that I was really there with him. His two sons and my own son were best of friends also.

Dwight made sure the boys were fully instructed on gun safety. He would take them to his private gun club to shoot skeet. Probably a good reason my son was an expert marksman in the USMC. All three boys would shoot their shotguns in contest to get the most skeet hits.

Dwight had a brother that was a big game hunt trail boss in Alaska. I was never blessed with going on one of his hunting trips with his brother but what stories Dwight would tell me. His brother had a small business with 2 or 3 trail hands to help him be trail guides for city folks. He had about a dozen trail horses and a dozen pack mules.

He would trail guide about a dozen clients for a two-week trail ride up the high mountains hunting big horn sheep. He had a couple of lower trail camps to eat and sleep on the trail up to base camp. Base camp had wooden platforms with tents and beds. The cook house was always the main focus. Dwight’s brother was known for his fantastic hunting camp cooking. I forget how much he charged his clients back in the 1960s but I know it was several thousand dollars each.

Dwight told me detail stories about the 2 times his brother asked him along to help cook and feed the animals. He was very proud of the stuffed big horn sheep head he brought back.

He was the subject of the photograph I won first place at the Mendocino County fair with. It is still the image I have of my best friend from Napa. He is sitting cross leg in his leather arm chair. He is holding his King James Bible and looking directly into the camera. He is in his study with his book shelf full of old colorful books. The soft light from the floor lamp next to his chair lights up the subject without raising the light on the background.

Still, it was his expression of a peaceful hold old man inviting you to come and read the Holy Bible with him. First place and best of show that year.

Lost track of Dwight now. Still feel his spirit here with me as I write these words about him. I know he would want me to write about his love for the LORD JESUS. He would give you the shirt off his back. His love for his wife and kids was only over-shadowed by his love of GOD.

Stop by sometime when Jesus and I are visiting my lady friends in heaven. Tell them some of your cooking stories from high in the camp up in the Alaskan mountains. The stories about how you and your brother cooked elk and wild pig to die for. Expect to spend some time with us. All my loved ones will love to hear your stories. After all we will have an eternity to hear the many wonderful stories, we will all have to tell each other.

Of all my many great male friends these two were my closest personal friends. We shared more personal things than just being good friends would ever do. I felt like I had failed my friend Dave. Dwight’s spirit is still guiding me toward the HOLY FATHER.

GOD has been able to use both of my friends to help shape my life to serve HIM. The pain and suffering I witnessed with Dave has given me compassion for HIS hurting children. From Dwight’s travel trailer I moved into the Napa Townhouse story.

The love of GOD and family I was surrounded by with Dwight still brings such joy and peace in my soul. Reminds me of such a wonderful time with my wife and kids in Napa. These were some of my hippies years and Dwight was my best friend.

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