During the last quarter of 1956 I was enrolled in an air force tech school in Mississippi. It was there that I met Leo, a New Yorker. We became friends. In mid-1957 we both graduated. He was assigned as a Nevada mountain top early warning system maintainer. I went to South Carolina as an aircraft maintainer. And I didn’t see nor hear from him again – until the mid-1990s.

It was a chance meeting half a continent away from our first encounter. I was a writer with a manuscript. He was a publisher running a small, backroom press by night, an ordained ministerday, or so he claimed, with a wooden cross that hung from a heavy chain. Perhaps he was, but more likely a backslider. Nonetheless, he was a friend for what he was, not what he could be.

Last night I dreamed I was in a meeting that was attended by a large number of faceless people, faceless except for Leo. As the meeting was about to get underway, the person in charge pointed and asked Leo if he would lead us in prayer.

“Oh course,” Leo replied. And he began by blessing everything under the sun. I was trying to figure out what this prayer was all about when something awakened me. 

And I shall never know the outcome.

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