The meaning of good friends…

My friend Dave from Des Moines. His wife, Jane, made the whole Coeur d'Alene trip possible. (See all the trip photos at

If you ever want to see how the greats wrote letters, Google the writings of Thomas Jefferson, Emily Dickinson or Edgar Allan Poe, to name a few.  Of course, they were forced to write in the absence of other means.  But could they build a phrase.

Many of their missives were to business associates and other influencers (oops, bank terminology.   Slap my hands.).  But they wrote page after page to friends, too.

On the plane ride home from Coeur d’Alene, I wondered what could possibly be said to Jane and Dave to even remotely begin to thank them for their generosity.  Now and again it’s good to regain perspective on the meaning of good friends in our lives.  So it was with Jane and Dave.  Even so, whatever I managed to scrape together would be relatively paltry.

In particular, Jane needed to know the lay of the land.  Here’s what she got from me sometime late last week.  Far from what Jefferson, Dickinson or Poe might have penned, but even us lesser-lights have our moments.


Bob posted all the Coeur d’Alene photos at


September 22, 2010

Jane: By the time you get this we will be more than a week removed from what was an unbelievable trip.  Dave sent a post-trip e-mail that tended to put things in the proper perspective in terms of friends mattering most.  There was an article in this morning’s Observer to the effect that the older we get, the more worldly perspective we seem to gain.

There is no way I can properly thank you for including me and for your overwhelming generosity.  Before the trip it was hard for me to set aside, let alone contemplate stepping away from, all the things going on here in Charlotte.  That is, until we hit the ground.  All that melted away, and that’s a credit to the other three for bearing with me.  They’ve all been very successful in their own rights, and that was very heartening.  Dave seemed very relaxed to me, which was entirely the point, I suppose.  Hell, we were all relaxed.  Your hubbie’s mild snoring aside, he was a good roommate.

Literally, you left no stone unturned on this little adventure.  The travel arrangements, the food, the lodging, the golf, the spa treatment, the timetable.  By the time we got to whatever the next installment of our journey was, you’d already talked to the staff.  The skids were literally greased wherever we showed up.  In your next life you will come back as some high-ranking travel advisor to presidents and kings.  Even Furstenau, who is used to this sort of thing, was effusive.

This was literally the first time I’d been around cronies from Des Moines in quite some time.  It’s mildly upsetting to have you guys there and me here.  Your Dave was correct.  To paraphrase him, when you cut all of it away, what you are left with is your friends.  You both should know that I have an open door policy down here: the door is open and you walk in for however long it is you want to be here.  It would be great to have you visit Charlotte so you can see how those of us live on the other side of the tracks.  A stone’s throw away are the mountains and the beach.  (Somehow we got on the topic of Davidson and your Will’s college plans, and it is one hell of a little school just up the road from Charlotte.  Consider this your college search headquarters at least for the South.)

In a couple of weeks time I’ll blow through Des Moines (arrive Oct. 11, I think) and hope to at least see you guys for a few moments as I continue east and south.  I’ve got a book project in mind that I’d like to run by you (since you are already a published author and I’m still a wannabe.)  I’ve got both of your phones plugged away in my phone, so watch for a call.

But thanks again for including me in a trip that was beyond special.  I owe you in some significant way.  I may not have been the most deserving but I had the most fun.  Now if we could just get F____________ to toss his iPhone out the window…


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