Clark Blakeman is a friend who will always be very important to me. I haven’t seen in a couple of years, but I will always remember the friendship that we had while he was the youth pastor at CBF and I was on volunteer staff. Clark and I met weekly for almost 10 years to keep each other accountable. We made a trip to Mexico twice with the youth group, traveled to Atl with other youth group leaders for a conference. And once in a while we just hung out, Clark was one of the friends who helped me get through college, by spending time with me and talking. Thank you, Clark. You are a true friend.
So on Wednesday I told you about my friend Kelly Lowe, today I want to tell you about Scott Lowe. I forget how exactly how Scott and I met but we were in the same college group together and we were room mates for awhile, as was the kid on the right. I remember the Halloween Scott dressed as Carmin Appice and I dressed as Dee Snider of Twisted Sister and we went down to Elis’ Bar and won prizes for our costumes. I don’t remember what Scott won but I won a Whitesnake album. I remember sharing Rum and Cokes with Scott, we had a 2 litre bottle of coca-cola and a bottle of rum. We would take a drink from the coke and a drink from the rum. Whenever I hear anything by Pablo Cruise I think of Scott and I am not sure of why there is that connection. I haven’t seen Scott for several years but I consider him my best friend.
This is one young man who constantly amazes me. This is my oldest son Daniel “Dukkie” Richards. It is hard to imagine that he is 23 years old. He is currently working to start a non-profit organization. He is in tight with a band called NIAYH. He is not where I thought he would be, but he is living his life not mine. He is making his own decisions, and seems to be heading to a good place. He is another one I am proud to call son and proud to call friend. Go Dukkie.
This is the person who makes me laugh the most. David is one of the funniest people I have ever known, he has even caused milk to squirt out my nose. If that’s not funny I don’t know what is. David is also one of the most caring people as he cares deeply about his friends. David is a huge fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, having interviewed one of the creators for a school project, he has an original sketch from one of the creators, has cels from the cartoon and more turtle toys than I can count. For Christmas I surprised him with the DVD set of all the Turtle movies. I got one of my favorite Christmas presents from him in 2009, a hug. I am not only proud to call him son, but am proud to call him my friend. I am looking to watching him grow into a great man.
I first met my best friend in July of 1972. My Dad had just retired from the US Navy and we moved from Big Sur, CA to Eugene, OR so that he could get his degree in Library Sciences. We searched for a church to attend and finally they decided on Berean Baptist. There a big part (6 kids) of the youth group was the Berry family. I hung out with Jim and Chuck, visiting their home and hanging out with the youth group. I dated someone else during most of high school. Ruth and I both graduated from High School in mid June 1975, the 12th for me. On the 23rd I helped my family move to Portland and at 0500 on the 25th I went to boot camp. When I graduated boot camp, I was stationed at San Diego and on weekends when I didn’t have duty I would fly to Eugene and stay at the Berry home. I would fly in on Friday evening and take Ruth out to dinner, and on Saturday I would have another friend pick me up and take her out to dinner. It was a different girl every Saturday, put I didn’t know I was angering Ruth. Evidently one time she slammed the door in the girls’ face. Sorry, whoever you were. After that I was stationed in Hayward and whenever I wanted to talk with someone at home, I would call and talk to Ruth. She even moved to California while I was there and we went out a couple of times, even going to the coldest church either of us had ever attended. I would write her long letters. After getting out of the Navy I moved to Portland and we would see each other sometimes. In December of 1984 I invited her to a Huey Lewis concert, but she didn’t want to go. I thought that was the end, although I do remember writing that I knew I would either marry Ruth or another woman, I know who, but don’t know if it would be wise to reveal her identity. In March of 1985 Ruth invited me to a birthday party for her and her brother Jim. I said I didn’t have enough money, so she came and got me in Portland. That was March 5, on March 17 we were engaged. People that only knew one of us, commented that it might be rather sudden, people that knew both of us commented that it was about time, after all we had known each other for thirteen years at that time. We got married in July of 1985 and have gotten closer ever since. Although there have been times when I have tried to push her away or my depression or anger have interfered with our relationship. A best friend is always there for you no matter what and that would describe Ruth. She sticks by me and is constant in praying for me and encouraging me and helping me to be a better person. This July we will have been married 25 years and have known each other for 38 years. I am looking forward to 38 more years. I am very thankful for the gift that I been given of Ruth Ann.