Sunday, January 8, 2017

One of my favorite memories is the Saturday morning I met John Bland. I was shooting pool by myself in the pool room close by the old Arcade theatre in Paintsville, Kentucky. John came up to me, introduced himself and asked if he could join me. This was the beginning of a friendship, which changed my life forever and for the better. John, a year older than I, became my mentor and best friend.

I related to John that I was very unhappy in my attendance at Meade Memorial High School. John suggested that I might be happier at Paintsville High School. I was somewhat surprised at his comments and his desire to help me. Our principal at Meade, A.I. Lewis, had revealed his dislike for the city school by continuously referring to PHS as a school filled with elitist students,  This propaganda would prove to be incorrect many times.

John took it upon himself to arrange for me to be able to attend PHS tuition free by playing football. This was a life changing event for me too. I loved football because I had great coaches who challenged me every day. As a result I became more secure in my own skin and able to make friends, which I still enjoy.

When I returned from Korea I requested and was granted an assignment at the same base where John was stationed. We enjoyed two years together before we became separated by circumstances beyond our control. We were reunited again after we both retired. We enjoyed many rounds of golf together at Paintsville Country Club.

John died a few years ago. There has been an emptiness in my heart ever since. I am looking forward to being with him again in Heaven.

Proverbs 18:24 ESV / 913 helpful votes

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.