I first knew of Steve while I was in high school. He was the best high school pole vaulter in the nation his senior year at Wichita East. Yeah, that's the same high school that Jim Ryun went to. Steve set a state record that would last exactly one year. My teammate Tad Scales would come along the next year and break it.
Steve and I became acquaintances my freshman year at Kansas. By then he had pretty much flamed out in the world of track and field. We both shared that, along with a love of Bob Dylan. Thus an enduring friendship was born.
Steve, besides being a former pole vaulter and a great runner, also loves motorcycles and used to sky dive. Marcia, his wonderful wife, finally but the kibosh on the sky diving. Together they raised two incredible young men, Justin and Matt. I like to think of them as my nephews.
When I was hitting some tough times in my life, Steve was there like a rock. We ran together, played guitar together and talked a lot about Bob Dylan. I think in some small way I helped Steve as well.
I miss the runs and I miss playing guitar with him. We get together on the phone on a somewhat regular basis to discuss all things Bob. It's amazing that our friendship has endured for nearly 40 years despite my wandering way.
Steve's on one of his legendary cross country motorcycle trips. He's passing through tomorrow night on his way to a wedding in Fort Lauderdale. In a house full of Russians, he may have to grab a spot on the couch, which is a shame because after all that riding, he really deserves a bed.