Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Big Kahuna

In early September of 1967, a high school friend pulled his car up to the front of our house. While I was chummy with Kenny in high school, we did not know each other all that well.  We'd learned late in the spring of 67 that we both were accepted and would attend the state university of new york at Albany.

Kenny hops out of the car while I happen to be by the curb.  The guy was a dynamo talking about all the things we were going to do at Albany--few of the activities had much to do with the library. It was exciting just to listen to him, but I was afraid that if my father happened along and heard our "plans" I'd never be able to get on the bus at the Port Authority.

Kenny, aka, the Big Kahuna and I became very close buds in college and have maintained that friendship for nearly fifty years. It has taken us on jaunts to Lake Placid, canoe excursions, cape cod tennis matches, water skiing trips, assorted pubs in London, and enough locales for me to regale anyone interested in listening for hours without exhausting all I could relay.

Today I visited the big Kahuna in a rehab center where he is recovering from knee surgery.  At the end of May he walked down a short set of stairs in his home that I have negotiated at least a hundred times and he must have walked down a hundred thousand times.  On this excursion he caught his heel on one step and then launched himself like a guy on a diving board into, not a swimming pool, but onto an indoor outdoor carpet that barely covered a cement floor.  He landed smack on both of his knees and needed nearly immediate surgery to connect the shin bone to the knee bone or something like that.

So, for the last month he has been in a rehab facility.  I've spoken to him on a number of occasions and while not real happy about being strapped to a wheel chair for six weeks and with a future of more months in the same spot, he sounded okay.

Despite the upbeat phone calls, I was still startled when I saw him today. He looks fantastic. His legs are locked with a contraption that looks uncomfortable, but he seems relatively happy and in a classic example of making lemonade out of lemons, talked about how the rehab is strengthening muscles that needed work, how he is losing weight because of the dining regimen in the rehab center, and about the books he has had a chance to read.  And he also started to speak about some new adventures we should undertake as soon as he can walk.

What a model for a positive outlook on life.   We arrived on planet earth four days apart; he got here earlier--and I can assure you that was the last time he ever got to anyplace before I did.  A notorious late arriver, but a ray of happy sunshine on my life and many others'.


  1. Hi Zeke This post was just what I needed to fully castastrophize my surgical fears. . Had two hips replaced, two knee surgeries, and getting my right knee replaced next Wednesday. At least I live in a one story house. I went to Hebrew school at Midway with Ken Turow. Was he the relentlessly positive soul who dived down the stairway? Take care. Gene

  2. HI Gene. Good luck next week. I am pretty sure Kenny did go to Midway. He is still the optimist.