It is nature’s law: we come and go in order. This principle, generally honored— usually expected— is too often violated. Fairly or unfairly we count on it, rely on it—all the while knowing that nothing in this life is guaranteed…especially life— and that those arriving later sometimes leave sooner. It’s crap and it’s unfair—but it’s life.

Our friend’s daughter passed—way too soon and way too young. In her forties, but young. She left a husband, two parents, a grandmother and a future.

It’s crap and it’s unfair—but it’s life.

Hard not to think of him today…of our youth…our paths. And how he hurts.

We grew up in a Fool’s Paradise: laughing, loving, hurting absolutely no one. Times were, in the truest sense, innocent. He’d ride me down Bayard, peddling blindly as I perched on a handlebar. Always crash—never burn. We’d play “touch” in his backyard, spin records in his basement, park cars with his dad, Eddie Haskell his mom and —through it all— face foibles together. We were—all of the guys—perfectly happy in our imperfect world.

“B,” he’d brag: “My father has a bigger hearing aid than your mother! HA HA!” And he’d laugh his signature roar.

Hard not to think of him today…of our lives… our paths…

He moved away, came back; I stayed, resurfaced. Miles and years never really disconnect childhood friends. Bob and Fred remain, Erv’s in Columbus. Kraut’s here, WIeder’s out west, Treinish—in the office and Stuart—well he’s somewhere faking retirement. We are branches from the same tree with—to a man—roots that bend but never break.

There were sixteen of us in “the day.” We’ve buried fathers, said goodbye to mothers, married, divorced, prospered with money, pissed away opportunities and lived.

We’re trading voice mails this week, and Emails, and memories.

Hard not to feel for him today.

He’s watching old movies: her first birthday. It was ’69, Columbus. Bobby and Stuart were there…me too. Married housing off Olentangy. We were all so young…naïve.

Hard today, not to wish that just one more time we could all cram into his dad’s old green Studebaker, that we could all be California Dreamin’ of our lives ahead….

Our friend’s a trouper. He’ll rise today and go to work. He’ll stay busy. His smile will flicker a bit and in time shine again. Bet on it; bet on him.

At this moment though, he hurts, he feels. And all the blithe spirit of his past. all the love and well-wishers surrounding him can’t change the simple fact that it wasn’t supposed to be this way.

It’s crap; it’s unfair…but it’s life.

One Response to “ETERNAL FLAME”

  1. bob says:

    I called my kids, each one after I heard the news. I’ll never forget waking my parents at 2 AM when I got home the night Raise told me he was having a baby. Their words were “Randy, no way, we could believe it of any one of your friends but not Randy. Hope this isn’t taken wrong but I’m hoping after 42 years this will help give Raise some Peace. Amazing that of the 16 we are all here somewhere. Raise was the first to know childbirth and the first to know the loss of a child. I know we all share in his grief and encourage him to keep being who he is. I know he is loved by all.

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