When I was a freshman I lived in a dormitory with cinderblock walls, two dressers, two desks and two extra long single beds. My roommate was in Navy ROTC. I was in Army. He quit ROTC at the end of his freshman year. I left Cornell as a Second Lieutenant.
Some college roommates become best friends for life. We did not and I never saw him again after we moved out of that dorm room at the end of spring semester.
My friend for life lived next door and over the next four years we would spend time togehter watching local bands, hiking and swimming in the nearby gorges and sometimes watching the hockey team. He had season tickets and rarely missed a game. I was not a big fan but was always grateful to come along when he had an extra ticket.
We stayed close after graduation. We got married at about the same time. He came to my wedding. I was at his. We raised our families on about the same schedule. We read Harry Potter books to our children when they were young and later bought extra copies of the new releases so that we could keep up as our kids devoured the books within hours after they were publised. We talked about high school issues and college choices and their plans once college was behind them.
He always wrote me a nice letter at Christmas full of news. My card was usually late and didn’t say much.
He was diagnosed with cancer 15 months ago and is now well along the way on his journey with the disease. In December, before we knew that Kathy was also sick, we made plans for a visit during this year’s ECAC hockey tournament that was being held in Lake Placid. We put those plans on hold until last week when Kathy started feeling better.
Kathy and I left Baltimore right after chemotherapy and they arrived the next morning. We spent our time together talking about our kids, our memories and our plans for the future. We shared some nice meals and a little wine. We walked around the lake a bit and continued our conversations in front of the fireplace each night until the last log disappeared into ashes.
He and I went to the game on Friday.
Cornell scored first, but Princeton scored twice in the second and twice more in the third to end Cornell’s tournament run and send hundreds of disappointed “Lynah Faithful” fans back to Ithaca.
We sat next to the band and reminisced about the hockey games we had seen togehter when we were at Cornell. We stood when the band played the Alma Mater and laughed at the new cheers they had invented since the last time we had heard them play.
Being with my friend and seeing how well he has handled his cancer renewed my faith that Kathy’s journey with this terrible disease will also go well.
I’m not sure when the tournament or the Cornell hockey team will return to Lake Placid. But when it does my friend and I will be back again, sitting next to the band and talking about the four wonderful years we spent together “far above Cayuga’s waters.”