When I came to show my kids today his photo had half fallen between the shelf and the glass case and the plaque with his name and the dates, 1964-1982, was turned sideways between dusty trophies and forgotten teenaged nights. I hadn’t been back to my home town since 1988.
I told the girl at the desk I didn’t know who to tell or who’s place it was, but maybe someone could clean it up a little.
“Of course”, she said, “that’s not right.”
“He was my friend…”
We stood outside the liquor store looking for a case of beer and a bottle of Lonesome Charlie for the girls. It cost us a couple beers but made for an entertaining walk over the long bridge to their house on the south side of the river.
Motorcycles and memories take me back. Cold swims, 22’s and pickups and long walks across prairie towns.
The girls were older and the sparkling wine mixed well with hot-tub water and ACDC before we all crashed laughing half naked in his sister’s room downstairs. Good kids, good fun, punch drunk love, in different ways so far from today.
That was the last time I saw him…I moved west and another day, another time he was too drunk to wake up alive and laugh and see another year.
Someone said on a mountain once when ashes were tossed into the wind for another soul lost too young, too soon, “remember the smiles.”
Thinking of that night brother…happy new year.