I want to sincerely thank all of you who have lavished compliments on me over the past few days, and even in months past, concerning my relationship with Max Gelders. I love you all and you’ve been very kind but it’s time for a little prospective and reflection. I’m not deserving of your compliments. The man we truly want to shower with accolades is a little acknowledged Classmate of ours that will, hopefully soon, be handed ……………..the second coin!
Last Easter Sunday when I first stopped by Homestead Manor to pay a surprise visit, Max was excited to see me but he was even more thrilled with the prospect of calling his best friend on his cell to share the moment. He soon tried to do so, but could only leave a message. This was the same Classmate that had first brought Max’s location and predicament to Ruthie and Edye’s attention. During our time together that morning Max told me, repeatedly, how this same friend stopped by regularly with his family and would sometimes take him out to his favorite restaurant.
As all of you are aware, Max did not attend our little get together on Singer Island. Max’s friend was also absent but nobody noticed. His name was never mentioned and, to my knowledge, he has never taken part in any of our internet postings. He may be a mystery to most of us but he has been looking after Max for years and has never felt the need to tell anyone about his good deeds.
This past November boredom set in and I, once again, went to sea. This time I got no further than Biscayne Bay before ducking in at a Homestead marina. I had decided to lay over, rent a car, and visit a (new)old friend. Soon after I picked up Max at the nursing home, he was on his cell phone and calling his best friend. This time he got through and handed me the phone. It was an awkward exchange. What do you say on a cell phone to an old Classmate you’ve never spent any time with while your driving around killing time with another old Classmate you never spent any time with? The conversation ended with Max’s friend saying to me “well it sounds like Max is having a good time and that’s all that matters!”
Max calls other people regularly on his cell phone; Ruthie, me, Jim Anstis, Mike La Cagnina…the list goes on and on. How does a man who has no money and lives in a nursing home spend that much time on a cell and pay for it? If what I’ve heard is correct; with the help of a friend.
Dee (Conklin) Powell and Max remembering the good old days on Fern St. in WPB
Dee and I traveled down to Homestead this past week and I’m sure most of you would like to have been in my shoes. In Acts 20:35, Jesus tells us we are “more blessed to give than to receive”. As a Christian I placed one of Jim Harrison’s commemorative coins in Max’s hand and selfishly felt blessed by doing so.
The coin had Max’s name emblazened on it and he almost began to cry, but the greater gift I had for Max was from all of us in the PBHS Class of 1958 and he won’t be keeping it for long. We all know that, religion aside, every person alive is blessed and emotionally rewarded by having the ability to give something to another. So to this end, and from all of us to Max, we offer …………………………the second coin.