Fare Thee Well, Kiddo

I found out yesterday that a friend of mine died after a longish stretch successfully combating some kind of illness. He’d been living on bonus time for several years, if not decades, from what I could gather, having previously overcome a bunch of diseases and conditions any one of which might have been fatal, but weren’t – cancer, heart attacks, circulatory issues, that sort of thing. The way I knew him, he was one of these people who you could not not notice.   He was a big guy, not super-tall or super-large, but a big presence, with a lot of energy behind him, powerful, smiling, beaming, focusing, enjoying. He liked to work, to help people, to see his many grandkids, and to watch sports events.

He enjoyed the human condition and shared his enjoyment lavishly. He smiled a lot, laughed a lot, and would give me a light punch on the shoulder like a coach to a junior player as a greeting every once in a while in a, “Hiya, Kiddo,” kind of way that made me feel quite special.

I did not know him too well or for too long, but he left an impression on me that will last. I’m not a big afterlife kind of person, but with this guy I just have a strong feeling, maybe it’s more of a hope, that he’s having a great time wherever he is. Thank you, Ralph. I’m glad to have known you.