In the 1950s and 1960s Dad’s best friend was Jim Humphries. Jim, his wife Thelma, Mom, and Dad spent a lot of time together – golfing, traveling, swimming, eating, and playing cards. Dad and Jim would bet on anything. Not serious addictive gambling, but nickel and dime gambling. Maybe a quarter bet and one would pick a corner in the Friday Night Fights before they knew which boxer they had bet on. And all the winnings from all the games went into a pot. That pot paid for many of those dinners and vacations – but that’s another story.
Jim was handsome, charming, and funny. His drink was a martini. His dinner order in a restaurant was always NY steak and baked potato.
Dad was devastated when Jim died. In a letter to my brother he wrote “This man had a real influence in my life and I believe all of you were influenced by him also… It was an unusual friendship Jim and I had – I don’t believe we ever shook hands – we didn’t need to… Everybody should look for and find a friendship like our during your lifetime.”
On his calendar 7 August 1970, Dad noted “I lost a real, genuine friend today – Jim Humphries passed away this afternoon at McCain’s ranch near Jacumba. It was his 8th heart attack – he had never really recovered from his 7th attack on Easter Sunday this year. He was scheduled to go for tests at Sharp hospital on 8/18/70 to see about open heart surgery. “Everybody that knew him and I mean everybody, will miss this man.”
Dad had many friends, but never one as close as Jim.