[dropcap]H[/dropcap]is name was Cory, and he hated the water. He wasn’t like any of my other friends, he was different. And back then, people didn’t use words like autism. Ignorant people used harsh words, ones not fit to use on labradors.

Cory and I weren’t exactly close. But then, there’s no way we could’ve been, he never used more than one-syllable sentences. Still, he remembered every insignificant thing you ever said or did. And he’d log such marginal information away for future use against you, should the need arise. Cory was happy to spend time with us boys, as long as it didn’t involve water.

Water terrified him.

One day, several of us fished the “fork,” where the creek met the river. Cory didn’t want to drink beer with us, he was too smart for that, and he certainly didn’t go near the water. So, Cory sat at a far distance while we fished.

Well, it didn’t take long for our pal Andrew to do something stupid, as was his custom. That day, Andy staggered into the water to chase a catfish. He was immediately swept away by the current. Which wouldn’t have been life threatening if Andy were sober – but he wasn’t.

In an instant, Cory kicked his shoes off, and leapt into the water. He swam out a ways and pulled a very drunk Andy to shore with an incredible display of strength.

Cory yelled. “I’ve got you Andy! You’re going to live a long, long life!”

And as far as I know, Andy is living a long, long life right now – and married, too. This, I know.

Because Cory was his best man.