Many people have asked me over the past 18 months or so if I am in touch with my friend Tom Davis, who had to leave Beijing our first year here due to the horrible illness and subsequent death of his wife Cathy. We have been in and out of touch and very much in communication now. I think of them all the time and can easily become very sad, wistful – or happy.

Tom’s tenure here was obviously tragic but I really enjoyed my limited time with him and really feel he can and hopefully will be a lifelong friend. I’m so sad about everything that happened and it’s painful to even think about, but I am really happy that I got to meet Tom and share my early days in China with him. One of the very best things about this whole experience has been the great people we have met and I put tom very high on that list.

He and his daughters moved back to Tom’s hometown of Butte, Montana and are adapting to their new life and doing well. The girls are thriving, attending the same Catholic preschool Tom went to. He recently started working there part time.

He sent me these wild pictures of his recent trip to Canada’s Northwest territories on a caribou hunting trip with his brother. I don’t know what they did with these animals. Tom shot one and took the other with a bow and arrow from 60 yards. I’m not really a hunting advocate, but that seems like a pretty impressive feat to me. Maybe they can come to Maplewood and get set loose in the reservation, to clear out some deer.

Tom is a big Steelers fan and I want to meet him in Pittsburgh for a game in 2009. That’s the most long term planning I’ve ever done in my life, by the way.

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