I know it seems like I have a lot of best friends. Especially now. I feel like I have about 15 of you, at least. It's an embarrassment of riches, really. I'm the richest man in town.
Paul's an incredible guy, but this post will not be a long tribute to Paul. Or will it? My fingers are still sore from the last tribute! I just want to say this one thing about him before I tell the story. I can describe Paul with one word. Loyalty. Paul is the most loyal individual I can think of. I could not have picked a better friend.
If you've been following this blog, you also know that Paul gave me the Witness Cross pendant that's displayed in this blog. I wear it every day. Since my diagnosis, Paul and I have become much closer, though we've always been close. The following story is just one example of that.
I think telling the story of my friend Galen got me thinking about this incident again. I've warned Paul that I would have to write about this. I was just waiting for the right time.
Paul has told me about his dad for years, though I don't know if I ever met him. His name was Patrick Kelley. He lived into his 90's, but Paul could tell that his dad was declining this past year. There's a country song that Paul loves, even though he's a head banger, called "Paul Brown Petty" by Brandon Heath. He asked me to rework it to be about his dad, which I did. Paul wanted to make sure he had it ready when the time came for his dad's memorial service. I was very touched that he asked me to do this.
Paul and his wife Denise have bestowed many blessings and honors upon me, and this was one of the greatest. They also, for some inconceivable reason, asked me to officiate their wedding ceremony a few years ago. Me! It was one of the greatest privileges of my life. I'm pretty sure their marriage is still legal. But I digress.
When I was diagnosed, Paul and Denise were there for me, and they have been ever since. As has happened with so many of my relationships, this one has hit a new level during this time. What happened the evening of January 22nd of this year is just one example, but a huge one.
In my post, "What. Love. Is." I talked about the fact that Paul was taking me to an Avalanche hockey game that night. Paul has 8th row seats. This time, our wives met us for dinner beforehand at our favorite place, Wahoo's Fish Taco on East Hampden. We had a great time at the restaurant, and when Paul and I left to go to the game, Sharon and Denise stayed and talked.
Paul drove us up I-25 to Pepsi Center, and we talked about all the ridiculous stuff we usually talk about. Metal bands and Broncos and stuff. Just as Paul was about to pull into the parking lot, his phone rang. He looked at it, and saw his dad's picture. So he answered, "Hey Dad!" Then he suddenly got quiet. I heard him say the words, "He passed?" My eyes got as big as saucers, and I turned to Paul and said, "Let's go. Forget the game. You have to go." He pulled into a parking space to collect his thoughts and call his sister. Then we pulled out and headed back to Wahoo's. Paul called Denise to tell her we were coming back. They were still there.
We were quiet for most of the drive. At one point, I turned to Paul and told him how honored I was to have been in the car with him when he got that call. I've now performed his wedding and been there when he heard that his father had passed away. I think that makes us brothers.
When we got back to Wahoo's, Paul asked me to pray with them before they had to go take care of things. It was my privilege to do so, right out loud in a crowded restaurant. I could not have cared less. Actually, I didn't even notice.
We've been going to that place at least once a week for ten years, and that's the first time the manager had to bring extra napkins to our table for crying! Once Paul and Denise left, I nearly broke down right there, but we managed to get home before that happened. We're talking Niagra Falls.
I go on way too long with these things, so I'm gonna have to skip the whole Revelation Song part of this story, but the key players know. Maybe that'll be a whole other post. A lesson I learned about worship.
Fast forward to last Friday, March 4th, 2016. We're back at Wahoo's with Paul and Denise. Yes, we do know there are other restaurants. I asked for Denise's cell number, and Paul showed me his contact info, which he had just updated in iCloud. He wanted me to notice his home phone number. Paul had reserved his dad's phone number and adopted it as his own. It's now the same phone number as the house that Paul grew up in. Paul's old home number is now his new home number. Isn't that cool?
Here's the kicker. The first time Denise called Paul from their home after the number changed, Paul's dad's picture came up on the phone. Paul answered, "Hey Dad!"
I expect to sing "Patrick Kelley" at his service. Just let them try to stop me.