09/26/2021 Goodbye to a Friend   3 comments

It’s 6:15 in the morning and I’m in my man-cave preparing for my day. This is a quiet time that I have every morning and in many ways it’s the best part of my day. It’s the perfect place and time for quiet meditation and self-reflection. For some reason today I have an old friend of mine on my mind who passed away about a month ago. This will be my memorial to him.

We worked together over forty years ago for six years and when the company that we worked for went into bankruptcy we went our separate ways. At some point we reconnected and became the best of friends for the next thirty-five years. We never saw each other in person again, but e-mailed regularly. He was quite a character and anytime I’m writing a blog I think of him because over the years he must’ve written twenty-five novels worth of information and sent it to me. We talked about everything, family, friends, jobs, and anything that demanded our attention for analysis and sarcastic comments. He had one helluva a sense of humor.

All those years ago when we were still young enough to be concerned about what women thought about us, we were in a bar in Brockton, Massachusetts having a cold one or two or three. He’d been chatting up a young lady for about twenty minutes when he excused himself to make a restroom visit. I eased on down the bar next to the young lady and began to talk to her myself. I bluntly asked her, “What do you think of my friend?”, and she just started laughing and giggling. She said he’s really so damn funny and so smart, he’s kind of like an “Ugly Burt Reynolds”. That got me laughing hysterically and I used that term against him for the next thirty-five years. It just never stopped being funny and just as an aside, he never got the girl either.

We talked on the phone three or four times a year but we e-mailed at least four times a week. I know all about his family, his friends, his granddaughter, and all of those little things that friends share. I looked forward to hearing from him everyday and there’s now a real void in my life since he’s passed. We always had an agreement that if something happened to either of us we make arrangements for someone to contact the other to let them know. Neither of us ever did that. He assured me every time we communicated whether it was written or orally that he was “Still Vertical”. Almost every e-mail he sent me started with those two words and it became a “thing”.

There were so many days when he sent me funny, crazy, and interesting emails. We covered every subject you could possibly think of. Two months ago I went for three days without any contact with him at all. I knew he’d been sick and had been moved to a care center because of his age and frailty. I had no communication information for his family and had never talked to or met any of them. I was forced to go online into the Kansas City, Missouri area and run a search for recent deaths. That’s how I found out my friend was gone. My long Internet friendship was finally over. He was no longer “Vertical”.

It’s a sad commentary but a fact of life in these days of social media and Internet relationships. We all must adapt to our new circumstances. Thanks for reading this and just so you know:

I’M STILL VERTICAL

RIP PARK

3 responses to “09/26/2021 Goodbye to a Friend

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  1. So sorry about your friend. I’m sure he would appreciate reading the memories of your friendship. If getting older has taught us anything it has taught us that relationships with people we care about are the most prized possession we have.
    So glad you’re still vertical. PLEASE stay that way!

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