Friday, February 4, 2011

A Tale Of Two Boys.

A guest post by David R. Bonner, a.k.a., "Cougar Bait."

The story begins May 6, 1988.

Easy for me to remember, because it was the day my son Matthew was born. Funny thing though -- one of my sister’s best friends was in the room next to us birthing her own son, Benjamin. The boys were born within minutes of each other.

What timing.  We all had been in Lamaze class together and as luck would have it, the boys came into the world on the same day. We pledged to stay in touch and make sure the boys played together as they grew up. But like most good intentions, it just did not happen. We had led different lives before, and I guess we settled back into them.

We stayed in touch a little, I guess. Went to each other’s birthday parties and such. And of course, we knew that Ben was diagnosed with liver cancer when he was 2 years old. 2 YEARS OLD! I was shocked and scared -- one because I worried for Ben, but I couldn’t help but wonder whether this horrible disease would strike my son also. After all, they were born right next to each other. Fortunately, Matthew was fine.  And eventually, so was Ben. Ben was strong and feisty and quite frankly kicked cancer’s ass. Again at 2 YEARS OLD! But some small lingering heath issues have remained -- the result of chemotherapy on a toddler. As recently as last week, though, his doctor gave him a clean bill of health.

Both boys did well throughout their teen years. Ben went to Bishop England High School, Matthew to James Island High. Ben went to the Citadel.  Matthew went to the College of Charleston.

Currently, Ben’s hair is what you would expect of a Citadel man, high and tight. Matthew has hair down to his shoulders. They truly look like the odd couple. Ben’s father and I exchanged stories concerning both of them today. Oh yea, did I mention that we put the boys on a flight for three-month visit to Costa Rica today? Did I mention neither of them has a job there, or an apartment, or any idea what they are going to do, other than surf, chase girls, and go clubbing?

Matthew has dreamed of doing this since he was in college. Ben shared a similar dream of spending time in the Virgin Islands. Last year, almost 22 years after they were born, they ran across each other at the Hibernian Hall March 17th banquet.  Matthew told Ben of his plans and Ben said what any red-blooded young man should say -- Hell yeah, I’ll go with you!

For a while, we weren’t sure they were actually going to make it happen, but Matthew worked and saved his money, and Ben knocked off a Brinks truck (Just kidding).

And finally the day came. Ben’s father and I took them to the airport and dropped them off. We chatted on the way home and made some side bets on who would crack first, Ben or Matthew. Then a phone call came. It was Matthew. Small change of plans. They meet a woman in the airport and she owns a bar in Costa Rica! How convenient! (Did I mention that both Ben and Matthew are proficient in clearing their livers with alcohol?) She promised to help them get an apartment and possibly employ they. Only catch is that she is on the other side of the country from where Ben and Matthew were planning to go. For me, that would be a deal breaker. I like to plan and then I like to execute the plan. Not these boys. They thought for a nanosecond and said, you guessed it, HELL YEAH!

So off they go on an adventure. No telling what will happen. Hopefully neither will come back married. But Ben’s father and I absolutely agree: we are proud of our boys. Many kids have big plans and dreams for what they’ll do after college, but few actually follow through. Our boys are doing it, and they are doing it without hesitation.

So do me a favor boys, take photos. Lots of them. Write your mothers as often as you can. And most importantly, enjoy. Then again, I’m guessing you already are.
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