I'm guessing that not many people call you "Ducky" anymore so I'll call you Donald from now on. That seems strange even after all these years since everyone called you Ducky - it was a great nickname and one that truly stuck with you.
I'm at a loss as to where to start, but here goes:
To rewind a bit, we were great friends in the Air Force when we first met in 1968. We were both a couple of green recruits dealing as best we could with a life in the military that was pretty much forced upon us. Nonetheless, we endured and had some good times. I remember when we went mountain climbing. On that day we climbed Mt. Chocorua and witnessed a unique weather pattern. As you and I stood on the summit of the mountain, clouds from the valley below us were carried by the upslope winds and engulfed us as we stood and watched this same scene repeat itself many times.
There were other good times as well - hanging around the barracks talking with friends, having a few beers at the cafeteria and many other enjoyable times.
Then I shipped out to Southeast Asia where I would spend the remainder of my time in the military. You shipped out to Guam. During these times we always kept in touch and wrote to each other regularly.
After we got together for the last time 42 years ago we promised to stay in contact.
Somehow in the process of relocating to college in Minnesota I lost your address and, as a result, never was able to keep my promise to remain in touch. Once the Internet became a reality, I searched for your name but came up empty each time.
That all changed last week.
As I did from time to time, I did an Internet search. This time I finally came up with something. Something that made me very sad.
In searching your name I came up with an obituary for your wife, Ruth, to whom you had been married for the past 29 years. Your name was listed in the obituary. To say that I am sorry for your loss would be a serious understatement. I'm sure that you and Ruth had a wonderful life together and you have many memories to cherish. All you can do is hold those memories close to you and appreciate the fact that you had those 29 years together.
Each of us wishes that life were perfect - that we were never drafted into the military, that we could spend our time climbing mountains and enjoying what life gives us, that life would always be pleasant. That our loved ones will live forever wrapped in the comfort of their families and friends.
Donald, I only wish that I could have been there for you in your time of need. Perhaps I can keep my promise and stay in touch...42 years late.
Your friend always,