There he was. Leaning over his side of the fence, he was watching us clear great thorny stands of underbrush in the backyard of the property. Dusk was creeping up and so were the mosquitoes.
"What's a D.P.A?"
"Designated Pile Area. S'a military term. You all are welcome to come over and build some D.P.A.s in my yard if you like."
He clinked the ice in his cocktail tumbler and smiled broadly. The drink looked so unbelievably delicious and cold, he surely noticed our pathetic exhausted, bug-bitten, mud covered faces staring at it.
"Better yet, it's happy hour. Why don't you two come over for martinis?"
It seems so long ago we met Jim. He was our new neighbor on the lake where we had just bought an overgrown acre with a dilapidated house nestled in the oaks, Spanish moss and sky potato vines. It was a shambles, but it was going to be home.
Jim's house, next door to us on the lake, was the opposite. It was beautifully landscaped and well-tended in direct contrast to the seething jungle we were attempting to tame. Likewise, Jim was dapper at all times in his ever-present golf wear.
Besides happy hour, golf was his passion. He and my husband would go out in the morning all ready to subdue the enemy links with a vengeance. They would return in the evening, conquering heroes, leaning on each other in thick discussion of the economy or politics or any other topic where a little shouting, carousing and good-natured argument seemed sporting to make a point.
He was just a charmingly continental, mustachioed, gregarious, conservative retired guy of Scottish descent on his second marriage to a supernaturally patient Filipino beauty named Aida.
And we loved him.
And we loved him.
|David, Aida, Jim and me at their nuptials.|
His goal: Fly planes.
Jim's squadron was known as "The Little Friends."
Thank you, Jim. Raising a glass to you, our friend. Ride the skies.