They are the best friends a guy could ask for.
Ray and Shell are visiting us from Dublin Ireland. But the end of their three week visit is drawing near as they fly home tomorrow afternoon.
Some would be happy to have their home back to normal after a three week visit. But not my little family, as Ray and Shell are like a part of our family. And we will be very sad to see them go. Ray is like a big brother to me in many ways, and Ray and Shell are both truly like uncle and aunt to our daughters Alannah and Ashley-Rae.
Ray, a former UN peace keeper for the Irish forces was stationed in Beirut in the 1980s. There he met a buddy Dave who was a member of the Canadian peace keeping forces. Together they spent their free time getting into trouble and finding ways to make their tour of duty pass more easily.
Four years ago, Ray and Shell made their first trek to visit us. It was Rays hope he could find Dave while over here and resume their friendship. We organized a trip to Niagara Falls – as that was one of Shells dreams to see. While there, we received new that Dave had responded to one of our messages – and he arranged to meet us there.
After hours of searching the Canadian side of the falls for a face that Ray remembered from years ago, my brilliant wife Darlene called our hotel to see if they had stopped there by chance. Amazingly enough the girl who answered the phone was speaking to Dave at that precise moment, and we dashed back to the hotel for the reunion.
This visit, with a multitude of friends from past visits stopping by and driving a days worth of travel to come back to say hello, the one friend we couldn't find was Dave. Other friends Martina and Glen had travelled down from Collingwood – 5 hours north of us. After a round of golf and few cool drinks on the patio by the pool, Ray explained to Glen, an investigator by trade – his dilemma in finding Dave again. The address and phone number we had for Dave was wrong, and the two had again lost contact with each other. All we knew was that Dave worked in the Canadian penal system and was located someplace in Barrie – about an hour east of Collingwood and north of Toronto.
"Let me handle this for you" said Glen.
Several days later, we received a message that Glen thought he had tracked Dave down – but he was on holidays for the week. At the end of that week, Glen left another message that he had indeed found him, and left his number.
Ray called the number and suddenly found him talking to Dave – with only three days left of his time to visit.
As it turns out, Dave was indeed on vacation, and in fact was here in Windsor for that week.
If only we could have known.
Today, as we write this, Dave and his two teen age daughters are driving down from Barrie and are about to arrive here at our house. Their five hour journey starting at six o'clock in the morning. And they should be here any moment.
It is amazing the last minute contact these two have made in these last two visits from Ireland. And the extent they will go to visit for an evening.
And truly each to the other is the best friend a guy could ask for.