"Are you... Greg Larson?"
"I am Pat."
Pat Carlton. Holy God. My brain snapped back like a rubber band to a curly-hair scamp who lived on a major intersection near my childhood home. His mother, a kind soul, was the one who rescued me from the snow the day my father sent me to school during a blizzard. I have a lot of fond memories of Pat. He had an older sister, Mickey, who I think babysat me once or twice. He had a Siamese cat, Ming, whom I liked, and I played with him and Andy Oman, his best friend.
Pat was... on the edge a little. Him and Andy corrupted the innocent little me, which was naive and stupid for a boy my age, having been pretty isolated and fairly naive. This is not a complaint, but a fact. Pat, for instance, was the one who got me involved in fire. If I was to credit anyone for making me a pyromaniac, it was him. I never burned anyone or destroyed anything (that anyone caught me at), but he's the reason that today, I am so good with fires. Of course, he got caught when I got caught playing with matches, but that's because I was a snitch under pressure. Sorry, Pat :(.
Pat was a good friend as a kid, though. I really only have fond memories of him, and I am not sure why we never stayed friends in high school. When I saw him, we wasn't so curly-haired anymore (so what Pat, I'm fat), but he's married with three kids, living in the home he grew up in. He said he's still friends with Andy, and I gave Pat my card, and I hope Andy gets in touch with me. He also told me Carrie (who had a VERY unfortunate nickname because he wrinkled so much in the pool) was a male nurse, and Dave Knasel, the kid whose dad was my scoutmaster, is a lawyer. Wow. No surprises there.
He told me about McLean and we spoke of property values. I hope I didn't talk poor Pat's ear off, I was so glad to see him. Man... the stories I could tell. Maybe I shouldn't now, without their permission. Anyway, I have a lot of fond memories of those guys.
And fond memories of my childhood? Really hard to come by. I really, really needed that today.