Although some would say he was a sissy, having Finis as a friend was advantageous; he lived nearby, was usually available for an adventure of some sort and best of all, he had a brother-in-law. Having a brother-in-law was always an asset if you were 13 or 14 years old. It gave you access to all sorts of information about sex and girls and women and more or less made you an authority to all your other friends on these and other grown-up subjects.
Finis was not particularly creative but had an unusual imagination. For example, when someone asked why his brother-in-law put an envelope instead of money in the plate when it was passed around at church each Sunday, he said it was because he and his sister were married in the church and had to write on the envelope the number of times they did it each week.
“Everyone who puts their offering in an envelope is reporting the same thing. Even the old people that were thirty or thirty-five,” he said. “These were read by the preacher and the deacons to make sure that the marriage was going okay.”
You would be surprised at the number of his friends who actually believed he was telling the truth. Of course, he was speaking from the authority of having a brother-in-law, so no one could dispute him.
Finis and I used to camp out in the woods or in a field nearby. I don’t believe we ever stayed out all night because Finis had large and very sensitive ears. He was good at hearing scary but imaginary sounds no one else could hear. He would get scared of some monster, often a panther he heard in the woods and we would break camp and go home.
I remember his mother as being an older woman who suffered from some nervous disorders. She was not like my mother or the mothers of our other friends. I always wondered why she named him Finis. Of course Finis does mean the end and he was the last of her children.
I have some fond memories of Finis and some of the things we talked about during our adventures together. He always had cigarettes or roll-your-own tobacco and could make a nice campfire. We told jokes that we both had heard before and always laughed when hearing them again.
The last I heard anything about Finis he had passed away. I had a moment of silence out of respect and thought of the bicycle accident we had riding in tandem down Dennison Hill.
Rest in Piece my old friend.
The End (No pun intended)