I have a friend that has earned my deepest respect over the years named Buddy Hall. To me, and for reasons I cannot recall, I call him Elder. I wrote a story just a few months ago about Buddy, but now he has added another chapter to my life.
In his younger years Buddy was built like a stump. His neck is the size of his torso and he once proclaimed to me he was a stump with arms and legs. Buddy is a lifelong brick mason and his work made him strong.
If you have ever met Buddy you probably would not forget him from the moment he shakes your hand. Buddy has a grip like a vise. If he was shaking your hand for the first time, Buddy would get a crooked grin on his face and occasionally bring good men to their knees while introducing himself. I personally have endured his handshakes on numerous occasions and as I have aged I have resorted to various mthods of breaking his grip. I had thought about carrying around a baseball bat and whacking his knee caps as I lay on the ground in excruciating pain, or I thought about maybe carrying a hammer with me and smashing his toes to make him let me go, but I never did. I knew I would be in more trouble after the fact.
Picking up brick and block all day long gave Buddy an unusual strength in his hands and arms. It took me several years to learn how to shake hands with him. His fingers are short and I soon learned that if I could get the first move on him and have my hand firmly in his hand before he could get his fingers locked around my knuckles, I could somewhat stand the pain he inflicted. If you gave him a "dishrag" hand shake you could forget being in control at all.
One day, while at a church outing, I was teaching a group of young boys the advantages of leverage while working with heavy objects. I had challenged them to try to physically pick me up and carry me. I backed myself against a brick wall. Leaning against the wall with my feet a good distance away from it, I had actually wedged myself into a position that I was solidly planted, where I challeged them to lift me up. Buddy walked up to our group and told me he could easily lift me. Of course I knew he was strong, but I figured I had the advantage over him this time. Buddy walked up to me and simply grabbed the roll of fat over my belt and began to pinch me between his massive fingers. I quickly climbed the wall and almost hit my head onthe eave of the building! From then on Buddy would "goose" me and immediately make me think he was coming in for another round of belly fat. I still jump when I approach him for a handshake.
Buddy has not been feeling well for the past few months and as cruel as this sounds, I finally thought I would have an advantage over him. My long extended handshakes could now be done at a shorter distance. My jumping at his every movement thinking he was going to hammer the rolls above my waist could now subside, but man was I wrong. Twice since his sickness Buddy has hammered me! Once by grabbing the rolls and then he shook my hand, jerked me toward him and then wrapped his arm around me as if he was going to give me a brotherly hug. His sharp fingernail caught the side of my neck and he scratched me! Accidently of course, but I carried the scar for several days!
Now lest you think I'm upset, I'm not. If you think guys are weird that's okay, but the banter between Buddy and I is a strong mark of manly friendship. It's what guys do. Even though he inflicted pain I carry the badge proudly! Guys do dumb stuff to each other and consider it a good thing. Women won't understand but most guys will.
Buddy is a kind, loving guy with his feet firmly planted in God’s word. His life has proven to many people the power that God's grace gives all of us.
He has given me many starts in life. Nobody could ever replace my own Dad in life but Buddy is kinda like a life mentor to me. He has helped me though many toils and snares throughout life. Even though Buddy has the kind of physical strength to demand respect, I respect Buddy not for his outward strength but for his inner heart. I have a hunch many other people can say the same thing too. He is a good man, he is admired and most of all, he is loved. He is a giving kind of guy and Buddy has earned the respect of many people on this earth. I just hope as my golden years approach me, I can have people say the same about me that I say about my friend, Buddy Hall.