Saturday, May 21, 2016

Thinking of Posty...

I’m thinking of my friend, Dave Post, today and I miss him. Tonight, his old band will hold a performance in his honor and unfortunately, I wont be there in person. So sharing my thoughts out loud about Dave is the next best thing I can do.

The loss of Dave hit me hard.  I’ve had others close to me pass well before their time before. But I think Dave’s passing has effected me differently because it’s a reminder of how much time has passed since Dave and I were closest. It’s May 20, 2016 and despite all the technology, all the instant connections to seemingly thousands of people from my past, I’m just today learning that my old friend passed-away back in August of 2015, almost 1 year ago. And that is what is so heartbreaking to me…that I am so far removed from the person that I once was, the person that for a period of time considered Dave Post one of my closest friends, that it took me almost a year to learn of his passing.

Dave and I became close friends in autumn of 1992 during my senior year of High School, when I transferred to West Milford High School. That summer before, I wasn’t in a great place and just 3 days before my senior year was to start at Pope John XXIII, I decided I didn’t want to go back and instead, I wanted to spend my final year before college surrounded by friends. I’ve never regretted that decision as that year helped make me a better person. I entered the school as a new transfer, but I already had a tremendous core group of friends there. Being there only expanded the circle of people I called friends and Posty quickly became one of the more impacting additions in my life.
Saugerties, NY (1994)

When I left for college in the autumn of 1993, Posty and I still remained close, as I’d make sure to check in with him when visiting West Milford from Amherst, MA. Like many, I have countless good memories of Dave. None will ever be more memorable than in the summer of 1994, when we went to Woodstock ’94 together where 5 of us shacked up in the remnants of a muddy tent for a few days. Some claim that we “broke” Posty that trip when Kevin Bauman and I would speak to Posty while moving our mouths but not making any sounds. 

The more day-to-day memories of Posty remain some of the fondest, whether it would be triggering a pro-Christine Todd Whitman diatribe by him, or trying to convince him that his brother REALLY was Yankees GM Brian Cashman, I have countless random memories of great times together.

Years passed and while there might have been less frequency in our visits, Posty remained a warm presence when we did see each other. In 1999, when I was purchasing a new car, Posty was looking for one himself. So I gave him my old car, only asking for enough to cover the towing and mechanics fees I paid the week before, since he would be paying for any repairs.  I almost forgot about that. But it’s a testament to who Posty was and what his friendship meant to me. Posty never asked me for anything, I had something I didn’t need, so I gave it to him.

I can’t speak for anyone else’s relationship, but in all the years he and I were friends, he never once asked me for anything other than the occasional ride which I was always happy to do, given the advantages to the alcohol-free life I had.

Instead, Posty gave me much more than I think I ever gave him credit for.  It’s always been hard to come to terms with the fact that I’m not a very open person. Posty never minded that characteristic and responded by being completely open with me. I have never been the warmest person, so Posty responded by being one of the warmest and sweetest people I know. And while one of my biggest handicaps is that I tend to be judgmental, Posty never once judged me for who I was at any time we spoke.

I think what makes the loss of Posty so hard for so many is that his memory isn’t just as “a friend” one of us had, but instead, he was someone who for a period of time was your closest friend. That is what made Dave such a special person: that for a period of time, if you needed close friend, you needed a “pick-me-up” at a time in your life, he was all in…he was your best friend.

Dave never let me down. But I realize now that even if he didn’t know it, I let him down. There was another characteristic about Posty that I observed in those mid-late 1990’s: his intensity…and it was a reminder of how similar we were. I think that is why there was so much time and distance since the days he and I were last close. Seeing that characteristic in him was just a reminder of how prominent it was in myself…and that it was something I didn’t like about myself. In trying to avoid that part of myself, I avoided better maintaining the friendship.

Different friendships have different timelines. It’s not uncommon if living near someone your entire life, that you remain friends. Others find that same strength in maintaining a friendship despite long distances. But for others, friendships are for a finite period based on where we are and who we are at that time. For Posty and myself, that is the case and I’m so grateful that for that period of time that I had him in my life.

I never realized until later in life how people like Dave helped shape me into becoming the person I am today. I live a more transient life having lived in a number of different cities since leaving West Milford. I’ve made friends along the way at each stop. But when you leave, it’s hard to maintain them all. Instead, you view all of these encounters as fruit on the tree in which unfortunately, only those that are the most special are able to continue to grow. While I know I didn’t make the most effort in maintaining my friendship with Dave over the past decade or so, he’s always remained a positive part of my life for helping me better look upon myself and who I want to be.

Thank you Dave for your years of friendship. I’m sorry it’s taken so long for me to thank you for that and let you know how grateful I am to have had you in my life.

Take care, Pal.


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