In one of my earliest memories, I was 5 years old, walking home from Kindergarten, lying on my back on the street corner. Eric B. was standing over me with a huge rock ready to bash my brains in. Eric and I were off-and-on best friends. He lived across the street and we would hang out all the time and occasionally we would fight. All of a sudden I saw 2 hands grab the giant rock from Eric’s hands and drag the rock and Eric who was still clutching it, off of me. Then I saw Eric get shoved to the ground and told that he better go home if he knew what was good for him, which he did.
Who was this new hero helping me to my feet? Joe H. My new (and still 40 years later) best friend. I asked him why he did that when he didn’t even know who I was. He said that he didn’t care who I was, that it wasn’t fair and he wasn’t going to let the kid kill me. I owed him my life; a debt which he tried to cash in on many, many times through dares and stupid events throughout the years. From out-of-control field fires to solo parachuting to driving stunts that even Hollywood has not recreated.
Eric and I stayed friends but drifted apart around Jr. High when I moved away. We are reconnected on Facebook now. Joe still lives in Chicago and I get to see him every now and then. We talk on the phone and text a lot.