When I was 8 years old, I had a friend named Dale Hughes. Dale was the funniest guy I ever knew. He could make me laugh and have milk, pop, water or whatever beverage I was drinking come out my nose. We would play GI Joes together, we did our first act of public vandalism together, we even had our first frank discussions about what we were supposed to do when we "made out" with a girl. Dale was handsome, athletic and witty. He didn't do as well in school as I did, but he was my idol and my best friend.
Some of my most vivid memories are of Dale singing (and trying hard to sound) like Donny Osmond, who was a big sex symbol with the girls that we knew; travelling in the front seat of a Ford Fairlane (seatbelts weren't in vogue or required at that time) with Dale's mom, having her call us "little apes", and then us transforming into screeching, chest-beating, flea-picking animals right there, rolling down the road at thirty miles an hour (I'm surprised we weren't all killed); Dale teaching me how to come up with fast responses ("Just say to somebody, 'Guess what?', and then come up with something to say by the time they say 'What?'. ") and spending a month in Osoyoos water skiing, getting a tan and oogling and longing for all the teenage girls in bikinis; his sister, Nannette, who used to call him "Daley" in the most nasal voice; playing an April Fool joke on his dad, Dale Sr., by taping some fake dynamite sticks and wire to the steering column of his truck.
Dale moved away to Calgary when I was eleven years old. I got a call from his mom about twelve years later. Dale had found work as a male stripper (which suited my memory of him) and was driving back from Vancouver when he hit a semitrailer head on and was killed.
Dale, I thought of you today. Thanks for being part of some good memories. I'm sure you had a fun life.