The things in life which mean the most to us must never be at the mercy of the things that mean the least. -Goethe-
That’s a great quote from my buddy Jonesy.
Jonesy is one of my best friends and was one of the closest friends I had while in the Navy. We both were movie nerds and we enjoyed drinking.
I met Jonesy back in Great Lakes, Illinois immediately after leaving boot camp. We met at the barracks for the new sailors before they’d actually figured out where to put us. When I met him, he was rooming with another guy that I knew. Didn’t necessarily like or dislike this guy, just happened to know him and he was rooming with Jonesy. Think we hit it off pretty well and we started hanging out a bit. When we moved barracks, we roomed together. It was Jonesy, Mullett (not the hair cut OR the fish!) and I in the same room. It was a great combo, all three of us. I’d always heard that if you had an odd number of people hanging out, at least one person would feel left out all the time. Not the case with us. As I remember, we all got along and even ENJOYED each other’s company! Imagine that!
Christmas of 1995, all three of us pitched in a little cash and bought a fake Christmas tree and decorated it to the hilt with all kinds of holiday goodies. We were the ONLY guys in the barracks that had a tree and because of it, we got Outstanding ratings on our room inspections.
We moved barracks several times in the time we spent at Great Lakes. Jonesy left a couple months before me in late 96, early 97. I figured I wouldn’t ever see him again so we said “later” and figured that was it.
I went to San Diego for schooling from March 97 until July of 97. Reported to my ship in Virginia late July of 97 and sometime around then, after not talking to Jonesy for quite some time, found a phone number of his parents or something. Gave them a call and they told me that he was on a ship out of Virginia as well. Great news! I had a beer-drinking buddy again! Called him and found out that he was living in Virginia Beach and was now married. I was still living on the ship and if you haven’t actually lived on the ship then you won’t understand the misery involved in being on it IN PORT. I didn’t have an apartment yet so when I got off, it was like “alright! I’m off! Time to head…..downstairs” (insert sad face here)…
Anyway, Jonesy always extended the invitation for me to crash at their place. I never refused the invite. Once I got an apartment, I still hung at his place and we still drank beer and watched movies but I didn’t crash unless we had drank too much. By my third apartment, in Virginia Beach, we lived just minutes from each other. I would jog to his house. It was great, I jogged over there so I could stay in shape, and then completely undid my fitness by drinking until we were just vegetables on the couch watching movies. Ha ha ha.
Jonesy’s wife left a bad taste in my mouth from the minute I met her. Here was this buddy of mine, who I held in high regard, and his wife was a little “off”. I got along with her just fine, she wasn’t hateful in any way, just a little “off”. Anyway, during one of his times out-to-sea, he came home to discover that she hadn’t been faithful to him during his time away. He was mad, do ya blame him? I wasn’t even married to her and I hated that bitch for doing him like that. Oh well, divorce papers followed shortly after. I was glad to see it, thought he was better for it. He may have not been happy with the fact that he’d had to divorce but like I said, I never really liked her.
We got out of the Navy in 2001, within just a week or two of each other. He moved to Louisiana and I moved to Florida. One of these days, we’ll meet up again. I talk to him every month or couple of months. Guess that’s just how it goes when you’re not nearby somebody.
One of my best memories of him (and he’s gonna give me SO much shit once he reads it) is something he said before I left Virginia for good.
Things with my roommate had not been as smooth as originally. When we first met on the ship, we got along pretty good, actually even became friends. After living together for a couple years we didn’t hardly speak. I was never sure exactly what I had done to piss this guy off ‘cause I still liked him and considered us friends. Well, it was finally the time that we were going our separate ways (he was getting out of the Navy as well) and after 6 months of the silent treatment, I finally just said “What the fuck dude? What did I do to warrant you being such an asshole to me the past few months?” His answer was “We’re different kinds of people Dave. That’s all. We’re different people.”
Jonesy was a good enough friend that I told him all of this and he nodded, all the while preparing a drink for me. The day I left Virginia and we said our goodbyes, one of the last things he said to me was “You and I will NEVER be different kinds of people, man.”
Jonesy was at my wedding as one of the groomsmen and it was great to see him again. He almost had to cancel due to a car accident but I’m glad he could make it. Since he’s reading this damn thing now, I had to give him a “shout-out”.
Originally posted Tue, 03-01-05