Nearly every morning, Rolland Hillman picks up The Des Moines Register and heads over to the home of his friends, Bob Glenn and his wife Catherine.
Then, Rolland and Bob usually drive around to get the mail and see what is going on around town. When the weather is nice, they golf together.
As to why Rolland comes over every day to visit, he just quips. “They can’t keep me out. I have a key to the front door.”
Rolland and Bob, who live a block apart in Grand Junction, have more in common than most best friends.
Their friendship was put into motion before they were born. Their parents lived about a block apart when the two of them were born at home three days apart in 1931 – Bob on June 3 and Rolland on June 6.
Neither can quite say when their friendship blossomed. “We just grew up together,” Bob explains.
The young men went all through school together, graduating in 1949.
Rolland became a meat cutter. “I worked at a grocery store in Grand Junction as a meat cutter, then over to Jefferson and later Boone,” he says. He spent 37 years in Boone and retired from the grocery store there.
Bob had gone to work for the railroad following high school, but jumped at the chance to do some park work for Greene County.
He soon received notice, however, that he had been drafted into the Korean Conflict.
“I never went to Korea, I was stationed in Germany,” he says. “I remember I had two Christmases there away from home. My Christmas present the third year was to come home.”
Bob had met Catherine before he was drafted, and they were married about a year after he returned. They had seven children
Rolland married his wife, Doris, and they had four children. Doris passed away a few years ago. He and his wife never moved out of the community. In fact, Rolland’s and Bob’s wives were lifelong friends as well.
Bob went on to become a state conservation officer, serving in such parks as Backbone State Park, Wapsipinicon State Park and finally in Prairie Rose near Harlan before he retired. Throughout all that time, Rolland and his family would come to visit, regardless of where Bob and Catherine were living.
The couples also took trips together to places like Alaska, Texas, New Mexico, and Dyersville, Iowa, to see the Field of Dreams.
When it came time for Bob to retire, Rolland lined up three vehicles to move them back to Grand Junction.
“We made seven trips with three vehicles, so it took 21 loads to bring them back home,” Rolland says.
As to why they have remained friends for life, the two men, as well as Catherine, say, that’s just the way it is when people grow up in the same small town.