Throughout life I have met numerous individuals. There is no way I could ever count the number of people that have entered my life in some form or fashion. I have always been a guy that shows proper etiquette to all persons and along the way, some of these individuals demanded respect in such a horrible fashion, that I am glad to know they are no longer part of my circle of friends. On the other hand, there are individuals I know that have actually earned my respect, not by force, but in other honorable ways.
I have a friend that has earned my deepest respect over the years, named Buddy Hall. Now Buddy has carried several different names since childbirth. If I recall correctly, his real first name was to have been Vaden, but through clerical errors at the hospital he became Vadna. V.E. Hall is a title by which I have known him, but the name Buddy Hall is his friend's name. To me, and for reasons I cannot recall, I call him Elder and not as a church elder, but as being a few years my age elder.
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 was a lifelong brick mason and he proudly has made his mark on this community by being involved in the construction of numerous buildings around town. He was somewhat a pioneer in his work over at the hospital area, building some of the first commercial buildings for individuals around the complex. In addition, he has built numerous houses and other solid masonry buildings around here that will remain long after the traditional stick structures have come and gone.
If you have ever met Buddy, you probably will not forget him from the moment he shakes your hand. Buddy has a grip like a vice and 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 resorted to various ideas that I was going to use on him to break 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.
Due to the life long nature of Buddy's work, his hands were like vice grips. 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, but 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 and physically pick me up and carry me. I backed myself against a brick wall and leaning against the wall with my feet a good distance away from the wall, I had actually wedged myself into a position that I was solidly planted, challenging them to lift me up. Buddy walked up to our group and told me he could easily lift me and 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 on the 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.
Even though Buddy has the strength that most men only dream of, he is the kind of guy that has earned respect and not demanded it. He 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's 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 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.