My Friend ‘Milkshake’
previous next

“My Friend ‘Milkshake’” Liahona, May 2002, 36–37

My Friend “Milkshake”

In February 1958, at age 17, I entered the United States Navy. I was assigned to an aircraft carrier, where I met Raymond Covington from Provo, Utah.

I thought Raymond was a bit strange—no smoking, no drinking, no cursing, no nothing. I asked him what he did for enjoyment. He said he did a lot of things, but mostly what he enjoyed was either starting or ending his day with one or two big milk shakes. So Raymond was given the nickname “Milkshake.”

At night, Raymond would tell me about his church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was really quite interested, until he told me that if I joined his church, I could not hold the priesthood. That did not go over well with me. Seeing my agitation, Raymond expressed his feeling that perhaps one day the priesthood would be available to me.

As time went by I began to favor Raymond above all my friends because of the way he lived. After a while I found I had ceased to live the kind of life I had been living, and I wanted to do the right thing. He made me realize I didn’t have to curse or drink alcohol. I could make the choice to live a righteous life.

One day several of the guys were sitting on the deck gambling. One of them looked up at Raymond and said, “Milkshake! Say this curse word and you can have all the money in the pot.” I quickly counted the money and found the total to be two months’ pay. I figured since he and I were buddies, Raymond would give me half. But to my dismay, he would not curse. I pleaded with him, but he didn’t believe in that kind of talk. I knew then that to be a true Latter-day Saint was a sacred responsibility.

Raymond was discharged in June 1961, and I was discharged later that year. I often wondered what had happened to my old friend.

One day many years later, in 1990, while looking out the window of my home in the state of Washington in the United States, I spotted two nicely dressed young men. They were missionaries for the Church, and I invited them in. After talking with them a little while, I found out that Raymond’s hopes had come true: President Spencer W. Kimball had received a revelation in 1978 directing that all worthy males could receive the priesthood. I was elated. After receiving the missionary lessons, I agreed to be baptized.

About this time I told a neighbor, also a member of the Church, about my friendship with Raymond. I had no idea the neighbor would go to Utah and actually find Raymond. Two weeks later my old friend “Milkshake” drove more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) to speak at my baptism. He said he always knew I would join the Church.

In December 1997, I got a call from Raymond’s daughter, telling me he had passed away. I was saddened by the news, but I smile when I think of the reunion Rocky and his friend Milkshake will someday have on the other side of the veil.

  • Robert Lee “Rocky” Crockrell is a member of the Wollochet Ward, Tacoma Washington Stake.

Illustrations by Brian Call