In memory of a friend - David R. Wells
“Hello…. May I speak with Virginia please” the voice said into the phone. Oh hell no!! With a voice like that, buddy, you are talking to me! Voices are my ‘thing’ I love to listen to them. His voice was deep and smooth, not gravely in any way shape or form. It gave me instant comfort, with a feeling of warmth that started in my ear running down my neck. Virginia was standing next to me, expecting the call doing the pee-pee dance. She had warned me that he was going to call, and that he had the voice of an angel. I wanted, no I needed to hear him a little bit longer. By the end of out short conversation we both knew that we’d be friends. He liked my sense of humor and I liked to hear him laugh. Reluctantly, I handed over the phone while giving the directive to ‘call me’, maybe a little too loudly.
Virginia was staying with me temporarily until she could find a place of her own, she was like my little sister so there was no way I could turn her away, even if I wanted to. Her own sister was living 1000 miles away and we had been best friends since the 5th grade, my home was open to her. Virginia was young, beautiful and free from commitment so she had plenty of suitors. David R. Wells would turn out to be my favorite, and my best friend.
What David did
I found out he was a bass player in a band and also a singer. With a voice like his, he had to be a great singer. He had recently gotten back from spending a year in Nashville perfecting his craft and now was back with his band, ‘CJ Leftus‘. What an odd name. I had to know the origin of it, he was more than happy to explain. CJ came from ‘Craig John’ and the Leftus came from ‘Left us’. So Craig John had been the originator of the band and was traveling in other parts of the country.
The relationship between Virginia and David was tumultuous and soon ended. Virginia is a free spirited girl and not many men can hold her down, though many have tried. To do so would be akin to locking up a wild animal. Not that I’m calling Virginia anything other than a beautiful woman. It’s just when you take something that is free and try to lock it up they become ‘caged’ and this is one thing that Virginia will not to allow happen. She soon moved on.
David had found a place near my home and he started visiting me everyday. We always started our ‘Hello’s’ off with a hug. We both believed that a person needs at least 3 hugs a day to survive. If we got one at the beginning of our visit and at the end, that was 2 that were out of the way.
My youngest daughter was 1 year old when David came into our lives, being the youngest of 5 she was always in need of attention. David had a daughter of his own who didn’t live with him, and he missed her ‘baby’ days. With David around she was sure of getting it. He would come in and he immediately picked her up and there she sat for our whole visit. He talked softly into her ear when I got busy with the other kids, sometimes even singing to her. She could utter a few words at this time, but with David talking to her she soon had a vocabulary that would astound many. Within 6 months she could spell her own name. Granted it was an easy name to spell, but for a 18 month old it was amazing.
Quite often we had discussions of his ethnicity, he was very proud to be of Irish and Mexican decent. Both of his parents were alive and very proud of him, as he was of them. They retired in Florida and he missed them, so we talked about them a lot. When they came to visit, he made sure he brought them to my house to meet me.
His Mom gave him his Mexican side and boy could she cook. We talked about this a lot, he gave me a lot of ideas regarding food and soon found out that I was a fairly good cook. It became regular routine for David to come to dinner. In the afternoon he would call before coming over and I always invited him to stay. He never once assumed that he was going to be invited, the invitation always had to be there for him to stay. I always tried to make foods that I was sure David would enjoy. He was a meat and potatoes kind of person and in my zeal to please I made him those type of foods, never insisting that he eat his veggies. This is something that I will always regret.
I had been to see him perform many times on stage and I have to admit I was very vocal in my appreciation, this he seemed to enjoy. He wrote a song for Virginia and that was always part of the line-up. Most nights that my husband and I watched him perform he would ‘dedicate’ a song to one of us. Aaron Tippen’s music was one of David’s favorites artists to dedicate to my husband, as my husband was a truck driver and gone quite often. The band not only performed original music but also they played the music that was popular on the radio. David always believed that the greatest honor anyone could bestow on a musician was a fan learning their lyrics. Even though I couldn’t carry a tune in a basket I tried singing along, he thought it was great.
The band began to receive quite a following. They would travel to different venues in between Flint and Chicago. The excitement was almost too much to bear when a representative from a movie company wanted to use one of their songs in the movie ’Canadian Bacon’ starring John Candy. The band was compensated a pittance for this, the scene when the music is played is in the bar, the song is on the juke box, but something is better than nothing. Soon after they were approached by someone from the music industry wanting to sign them to a music contract. The only catch to this, they would have to change the name of their band. They entire band refused to change the name. The representative walked, they never did get signed.
The kids and David
Our friendship continued to grow as did his relationship with Sara my youngest daughter. He at times thought it was sad that his best friend in the world was a toddler. I thought it was wonderful, and she did to. The whole family loved David. My two oldest are boys and they, as boys will do, picked on their sisters. David having 3 sisters himself did his very best to show them how to be nice. When the girls would hit, David would show them how to stop the hitting, without hurting them. David strongly believed that boys should never hit girls and in his teaching, the boys learned to be nice. They will forever be grateful to him for this.
The kids will always remember the special times with David and one in particular. Apparently David had taken leave of his senses one evening, it was summer time, the kids didn’t have school and David had the night off. Prior to them staying we had an adult gathering outside, where he revealed a song that he was in the midst of writing. I loved it, it was about me, I never knew if he finished the song. It didn’t matter, that idea that he thought so much of me was enough. He decided to take all 5 of them to spend the night. Previously I had made him a large floor pillow out of denim, and the kids had a blast with that, fighting over who would sleep on it. His song “Apples and Bananas” (pronounced a pples and ba na nays) was something they will always remember singing to them.
One Valentine’s Day my Husband David and I made plans to go out. Since it was a Monday there wasn’t many people out and about at the bars. We ended up at one place that did Karaoke, I begged David to sing for me. I loved to hear his voice. He made me promise that I would never tell a soul. I’m sort of keeping that promise, I won’t say the name of the song. I was the luckiest woman on Earth that night, I was accompanied by two very handsome men.
I learned how to properly drink Tequila from this man, not only had I been drinking the wrong kind, but doing it in the wrong fashion. I had no idea there was a ‘proper’ way to drink it. When David was performing and I was able to watch (kids and family does not promote going to a bar often) we would send each other shots. In David’s eyes the proper way to drink Tequila was in shot form, with a beer chaser. Nothing else, he felt that salt and lime was for sissies. Jose` Quervo Gold was the least expensive of the good kind. He would from time to time wear a miniature Quervo glass on around his neck ‘just in case’ a bottle would accidentally come his way. Always be prepared was his motto!
As you can imagine, after spending so much time with one person, feelings can happen. I did fall in love with David. But not in the way one would expect. I was madly in love with my husband and had no intentions of anything else. I still felt the need to tell him. One Labor Day weekend David and another band member were hired to play for a group of us at my parents cottage. Boy did they play! The crowd went wild, they enjoyed it so much. Of course there was LOTS of beer and Jose` for David and I. After they finished playing David and I went for a walk, with our Quervo of course. We talked and I confessed my feelings for him. At first he didn’t want to hear it, he thought I was going to tell him something different. I only wanted to tell him I loved him, I would never leave my husband for him but I did love him. He thought that was fantastic, he had married women in the past ‘offer’ themselves to him and he thought this was what I was doing. Nope, just wanted to say ‘I Love you’.
Rather than cause our friendship tension, my confession strengthened it. I’m not sure how this happened, but I will forever be glad that I told him.
As it sometimes happens in life, changes occur. A big change occurred for us, we needed to move to be closer to my husbands new job. We were to move 100 miles away. David and I were both very sad about this, we would miss each other terribly. He was my best friend. When he asked Sara what she was going to do without ‘her David’ (as she called him) she responded “I get a new David’. He was heartbroken over that, but he did realize that she was after all a child.
The move happened, David did manage to come over one time. We went to visit him a couple of times. He moved and we did too, both of us losing contact with each other. When I was familiar with the Internet I was able to locate David one last time. We spoke on the phone for quite a while, each missing the other.
In December of 2003 I received a phone call from my friend Terry, Virginia’s sister, to tell me that David had passed away at the age of 42 of a heart attack. I was heart broken, my friend was gone. I felt blessed to have been a part of his life but I would miss him. I took my children to see him one last time, they were almost adults now, with Sara being a teenager, they felt the need to pay their respects to the wonderful man of their memories.
He was buried not too far from my home, so I have went looking for him a few times. I’m not sure what happened but there is nothing marking his grave. That’s ok too, because I know David will always be with me in my heart.
R.I.P my beloved friend - You are missed
David R. Wells
June 27, 1961
December 18, 2003