Gary Gardner (grgardner) wrote,
Gary Gardner

My Little Buddy Ben

One of the best parts about going back to the home town of Salt Lake, whether it's the holiday's or another time, is getting to spend time with my little buddy Ben.  As I've written before, Ben is the youngest son of my best friend Dave.  My friendship with Dave goes back more than 35 years.   I have a great time telling all of his kids about what their Dad was like when he was younger and the adventures we used to get into.  Dave and his wife Elayne have three other kids, ranging now from 18 down to Ben who's 12.   I adore all of his kids, and they have adopted me as some sort of odd-ball uncle, despite both Dave and Elayne having scads of brothers and sisters whom these kids see far more than me.   But my visits are always special and fun for me.  This past Christmas we had a wonderful dinner, then his two girls Madison and Ariel wanted to take me to go see Frozen at the theater, so we all did, while the boys went to go see The Hobbit which I'd already seen.

A couple of days later Dave and I decided to take a test ride on Salt Lake City's newest rail commuter line down to Provo, UT and back.  We invited Ben along for the ride and had a ball.   You can see why folks often assume Ben is my son -- we have the same round head and chubby cheeks.  For his birthday I gave him a leather motorcycle vest with several patches on it, including one that said "These Are My Church Clothes".   According to his Mom he didn't take it off for weeks.
On the train our conversation ranged from crazy things his Dad and I did when we were younger like hop freight trains, to the deer that are devouring their landscaping and that Ben and his brother have been shooting with paint balls, to politics.  Maybe we shouldn't have touched politics.  You see Dave is, shall we say, a bit more conservative than I am (a bit more conservative than anyone I know would be putting it mildly).  I've learned to accept it, and he and I sometimes have spirited debates.  But while I tend to be more of a libertarian who voes Democratic because the Republican's have turned insane; Dave is a hardcore Republican who has run for Congress as a Republican and who was one of Mitt Romney's major fundraisers.  His wife Elayne is much more reasonable and sane in this regard.  But Dave has done a good job if indoctrinating his kids, especially Ben.  Alas, when Ben found out I had voted for Obama, he incredulously said "you voted for 'BO'?   He then promptly moved to a vacant seat on the other side of the train car.

However, I think all is forgiven.   When I got home to Seattle a couple of weeks later I found thank-you cards from all of Dave's kids, very genuine and thoughtful and sweet.  Thank you notes is a lost art -- and its nice to see that these kids are still keeping the tradition alive.   And I was particularly delighted by Ben's card.   Not so much by what he said -- I can hardly read his handwriting -- but by the drawing he put in the card.   As his Mom Elayne told me, "he doesn't draw pictures for just anybody."  
I think I look like a round headed Abe Lincoln or maybe Brigham Young.   But he drew us with our arms around each other shoulders.   So I'm guessing my vote for "BO" is just a minor blip, and my Little Buddy is still my Little Buddy.  

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