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“Steve was so proud to introduce Jim to Newt Gingrich and all the others,” Joy said. “I think it was such a boost for Jim. “It was like, ‘Even though I don’t have a job, I’m not a failure.’ It was one of the kindest things.”

And now, for the first time in 23 years, Jim and Joy Zorn and Steve and Terry Largent are reunited, geographically compatible again, close enough to meet for dinner at a moment’s notice. They live less than a half-hour apart.

“It’s a gift,” Zorn said.

“To have the chance to live in the same city and watch his career up close and personal is really a thrill,” said Largent, the head of a downtown cellular industry lobby who served six years in Congress before narrowly losing his bid for Oklahoma governor in 2002. “Our wives are best friends. It’s a great relationship we’ve been able to maintain over the years. We’ve always had a special bond.”

Said Kramer Largent, who attends Oklahoma State and is working this summer for the Seahawks’ public relations department: “I’ve grown up with their whole family. They’re like a second family to me.”

Kramer previously attended his dad’s alma mater, Tulsa, and before that, Seattle Pacific, where he competed on the crew club team with Sarah Zorn despite his battle with spina bifida. He wears braces on his legs to aid his walking.

“He’s doing well,” Kelly Largent, an intern with the Seattle SuperSonics, said of his brother. “He doesn’t look normal walking, but he does fine. He doesn’t complain about it. He has a really good outlook on his life, where most people would be pretty negative.”

When he left Oklahoma for college in the Pacific Northwest, Kramer frequently visited the Zorn household. He did his laundry and watched football almost every weekend at his home away from home.

“Everyone wondered how I was gonna do and make it so far away from my family,” he said. “I don’t know if I could have done it without the Zorns. It was like they were my second parents.”

Said Kelly: “I don’t think he would have had anything close to the experiences he did if the Zorns weren’t there.”

Zorn and Largent are devout Christians who in 1982 refused to join striking NFL players because they believed it went against the teachings in the Bible (some teammates were not exactly supportive). Zorn said their shared faith, “a common belief in God,” is the bedrock of the friendship. “And it coincides with us as couples and as families.”

But in many ways, they are not alike. Zorn, a Southern California native and as much a free spirit as his profession allows him to be, has an artistic side that includes pottery and model ship-building and pursues varied athletic interests like mountain biking, surfing and racquetball. Largent, the Oklahoman, describes himself as more “right-brained.”

“Our personalities are different,” Zorn said. “One of the things I like about Steve is he’s very objective, very concise. He doesn’t like to try new things. He likes to stay the course. He’s played tennis for years, and he’s stuck with tennis. He’s played golf for years, and he’s stuck with golf.”

Said Largent: “I like a variety of things, too, but Jim likes odd things.”

Football, of course, is a frequent topic of conversation “but not much on the fundamental level of blocking, tackling, catching, throwing,” Largent said. “I’ve been out of that game for a long time.”

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