Joe Hendrix is a valuable old friend in my memory. We had the joy of seeing him and his adorable wife, Kim, while we were in Modesto. Joe and Kim were newly married kids when I first met them, and now they too are grand parents.
I think they did a wonderful job of raising their own kids, and even some that were not their own. At least one young man who, in my estimation, may have been headed for prison without the interception of a loving family such as the Hendrix. Joe is a friend who will do anything for you, and put himself out a great way in order to help.
I am embarrassed to tell you that whenever I think of Joe, one story comes immediately to mind, and it is not really fair to Joe. But here it is anyway. Many years ago Joe had a neighbor with a terrible tooth ache. This neighbor tanked himself up with enough whiskey so as to kill any kind of pain, and then asked Joe to help him. It seems he wanted Joe to pull his aching tooth. Joe told him he could not do that, but the neighbor insisted. So Joe reached into his tool chest and found what he could use to pull the tooth. I don't even remember this part of the story. It may have been simply pliers, or it may have been vice-grip pliers. I'm not certain what tool or tools he may have tried. But Joe got him to lie down, and he gripped the tooth and jerked and pulled until it came out. He may have been in jeopardy of arrest for practising medicine without a license. But Joe is willing to put himself out to help a friend. The funniest part of the story is that he pulled the wrong tooth!
I was afraid that my faulty memory was exaggerating the story, so when we met for dinner last week in Modesto, I asked him to confirm the story, and he said "yes" that he had pulled his neighbor's tooth. And he admitted that, "yes" it turned out to be the wrong tooth. I hope I don't remember that story when I must return to the dentist next Monday.