Best friends are hard to come by

Published 2:50 pm Thursday, September 22, 2005

By By Adam Prestridge
Everyone has that one friend they can always count on. They're not always necessarily nearby or you don't always see them, but you know you can always count on them.
You may not talk to each other for several weeks and sometimes several months because of responsibilities at work or at home, but you're always true friends to the end.
Unfortunately, I almost was a friend to the end with my best friend Kevin.
Monday his wife, Tiffany, called me to tell me that he had been in a bad accident last Thursday in our hometown. When she said that, not only did my heart fall to my stomach, but I also knew what had happened.
See Kevin has always had a love for motorcycles. When we were 12-years-old he got his first motorcycle, one of those small dirt bike's with big wheels on it, that he thought was the best thing at the time with the exception of the cute blonde that sat next to him in English. So after learning he had purchased his first street bike, one of those fast-as-lightening crotch rockets, as I refer to them, I immediately felt concern as anyone would.
We talked about his new toy three weeks ago; the first time we both have had the opportunity to chat since the birth of his son, Kollin, in July. Our conversation lasted about a half an hour before he had to go, but I was sure to express my concerns about his motorcycle and told him to be careful; I had an uncomfortable feeling about it. That was the last time I talked to him.
After hearing Tiffany utter those words, I thought for sure I had lost another friend. To be honest there have been so many that have died so young, without experiencing life like I have, that I have lost count. But it was a different feeling with Kevin; the same feeling that I felt when my two childhood friends, who happened to be brothers, Chris and Craig, where killed while traveling with their father in his 18-wheeler the summer between my fourth and fifth grade year.
I can remember it like it was yesterday; the smell outside, the song playing on the radio and the exact location we were at when my mother told me the news that my two best buds had been killed. We did everything together, and without them I was lost in a trance that I wasn't sure if I would ever fully recover.
Still mourning the loss of Chris and Craig, I was wondering around the neighborhood getting into as much mischief as I could when I noticed a small, blonde headed boy riding a bicycle towards me wearing an army sweat suit. I didn't recognize him as one of the "kids" of the neighborhood, so I knew he had to be new. I approached him, asked his name and he answered "Kevin". From then on, we were inseparable. It was like God sent me a friend to replace the two that were so tragically lost.
As the years went on, Kevin and I continued to hang out with each other nearly every second of the day. We went to the movies together, attending Birmingham Bulls hockey games with his parents a zillion times, became bums at his grandparents' lake house and vacations in Florida together. We began high school together, but I later moved, as did he. Over the years, we never lost touch and to this day we would do anything for one another.
It's funny how our lives have patterned each other.
I was involved in a terrible automobile accident when I was 16-year-old where my truck overturned three times and landed upside down in a ditch. Fortunately, I was able to walk away. Now several years later, Kevin lies in a hospital bed in the intensive care unit, connected to machines. His wreck occurred less than two miles from where mine occurred.
I was married a couple of months before him to my lovely wife Jennifer, and he married Tiffany, who is so much like Jennifer. I was born seven months before him and his son was born six months before mine, which will be born Jan. 1, 2006.
Maybe our boys will grow up to be best friends. I just hope we'll both be around to see it.
So Atmore, please pray for Kevin. The doctors expect him to make a full recovery, but he's not out of the dark yet.
He's like family to me, and I don't know what I would do if he didn't pull through.
Get better soon.
Adam Prestridge is publisher of the Atmore Advance. His column appears on Wednesdays in the Atmore Advance.

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