|Peary and me with my brother Stephen, 1986|
|One of the photos Peary sent me in the late 1980s|
When I graduated from college and flew to Boston with my friend Debbie, we then went to Washington DC where my aunt and uncle had been living for the year. Peary flew out and met us there. After being tourists in DC, the three of us drove my aunt and uncle's car all the way back to Seattle, stopping shortly in Colorado to visit Peary's family and meet his new girlfriend (who later became his wife). At the time, Peary was a 20-year-old chain-smoking hippie, and I've always been a bit of a hippie (see us "choking" Ronald & Nancy Reagan's throats, albeit with smiles on our faces--we were friendly hippies!). I remember how deeply we felt the pain at the Vietnam memorial and the plight of the Vietnam MIA activists onsite. One evening in Washington DC we went out to a bar for drinks and deep personal conversation about life.
Later when I was in Japan, I loved to receive Peary's letters. Early in my relationship with Mike, a letter arrived, written on a paper towel! (Mike wasn't sure what to think about those weird Americans.) He was always creative in finding unique stationery. He would send me packages full of photographs he'd taken around Greeley, Colorado, and stories from working at the newspaper...and later at a hospital. We also share a deep love of music.
|On one of his medical trips|
Although I rarely see Peary in person any more, we stay in touch on Facebook. He's married with children and grandchildren--in fact, he became a stepdad long before I had children myself, at a young age. He travels to South America each year as part of a team to help people who cannot afford medical care. His mom fought cancer off and on for many years, and earlier this year she succumbed to the disease. Peary was a faithful, dedicated, and loving son throughout his mom's illness. I imagine this Christmas will be a hard one without either of his parents.
I am not in frequent contact with very many of my long-time childhood friends, but I'm grateful to be in touch with Peary. He is a wonderful man and I feel honored to know him.