Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Good Brother

I first met the brother I'll call BKL when I was in college, pledging Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. So, that would be early 1980 and I was 21 years old. He wasn't a student at my college, Shippensburg... he was from a neighboring state college, Millersville. He was one of several "visiting brothers" who flowed into our college that spring. There was 11 of us pledging together at that time and there were no brothers on our campus. We would be the first. Officially, we were pledging at nearby Penn State. When word got out that we were on a campus with no "supervision", guys flowed in on a regular basis to make sure that we were getting (I'll say) the " proper acclimation" and leave it at that.

I believe the brothers from Millersville were the most constant visitors, next to Cheyney State. Anyway, This is really not about my pledge period... it's about a friendship that has lasted over thirty-some years. When I first saw this brother, I was ready to just drop off the line and say forget it. He was huge... even his muscles had muscles and he wore his hair in a process (kinda like David Rufffin of the Tempts). He had a goatee and those big dark shades... a very imposing figure. When he took his shirt off, he had a Kappa brand on both arms and one on his chest. Years later, I would ask him why so many brands and he would jokingly laugh, "I wanted to make sure."

As fearsome as this guy looked, he was one of the nicest guys you would ever want to meet. Just a gentle soul that barely raised his voice above a whisper. He didn't have to... you weren't going to disobey him or get on his wrong side. He didn't make it to my initiation, which was a few days after my 22nd birthday, but he did see me a little while after. And, as is tradition, he gave me some paraphenailia that had been his... a cane, which I in turn gave to one of my former pledges some years later, and a Kappa insignia pin, which I still own to this day.

When his school had pledges the very next year, I came down with my guys and BKL treated us like royalty. He got all of us a room to sleep in and made sure we were fed and entertained. He was just a good guy all around. It gave me great pride to see his son, who I'll call ML, come along and pledge the same fraternity that his father and I had pledged... on the same campus and the same chapter. I didn't see his son when he was going through the motions, but I became acquainted with him in Philadelphia shortly after he became a brother at one of my last Greek picnic appearences.

Sadly, he told me that his father was battling cancer... that demon cancer, that had taken, my mother, an aunt, a couple of uncles, and recently, another good friend of mine. I told him that I'd keep his father in prayer.

Yesterday, his son contacted me (via Facebook) and informed me that his father, one of the best guys I know, had won his battle with cancer. He had survived an operation and it appeared his cancer would be in remission. If that's not a miracle, a prayer answered, I don't know what is. It's nice to have some good news in a world where there is so much bad news on a constant basis. I'm still praying and hoping for his father's complete recovery!

1 comment:

Arlene said...

What a blessing! I'll be sure to add your friend to our group's prayer list. God knows our needs and cares for us.

And I thought I'd be reading about the Eagles' "vick"tory over the Redskins. Guess I'll check the raves on FB.

Joy, cousin.


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