Today was one of those days when everything was working out in my favor. I was solving problems on the boat like nobody's business and my hunt for a vacation place in the Bahamas worked out great. My wife and I stumbled upon this great place at a very affordable weekly rate. It was a good day.
I felt like Bert, the chimney sweep on Mary Poppins, whistling while I worked with a big stupid grin on my face.
That all changed when my older brother ( I'll call him Bob ) called me today. Bob doesn't call to chit chat. We're not chit chatter's. When we're on the phone, we do a lot of listening. If he calls me, it's usually for one of 2 reasons. Either we're going golfing or someone died.
Unfortunately, we're not going golfing.
Greg was a close friend of Bob's for probably 40 or more years. My brother told me today Greg was found dead at his home. He wasn't old.
He was just on the other side of 60.
I'm still trying to let that info settle in.
I wasn't real close to Greg, but when your "sort of" close for a really long period of time...well, you know what I mean. He lived in the same town as my family did. As a grown man working at the local newspaper, he would frequently walk into our living room to say hi and talk to my dad who was a retired lifelong news man. Sometimes he just wanted a beer.
Just a real sweetheart. You probably know someone like him. Always in a good mood, always a smile on his face.
Greg was a tall good looking guy, had to be 6'4 or so with hair like the older brother on the Partridge Family, and a deep voice just made for radio. In fact, as a young local sports writer, he was invited on the local sports talk radio program, which he was late for because of traffic. They never invited him back.
When I think of him two things come to mind.
First: Boy, could that guy crush a golf ball. Greg was a really good golfer and it must have caused him unbearable pain to play with the likes of me. On second thought, I don't think he minded at all. When ever Bob called me and informed me our up coming match would be with Greg, well, that was always good news. Never was a bad word said about him, by anyone.
I never heard him complain and never saw him get angry on the golf course. That's saying something. Everyone gets mad on the golf course. Did you see Tiger melt down at the Masters?
Secondly: Boy, could that guy write. He spent most of his adult life working in the newspaper business in one facet or another. Many times his impromptu visits to my parents house was to pick my dad's brain concerning anything journalism. He, like my dad, loved his job.
When my dad died in 1989, Greg, who was working for the local newspaper, wrote a beautiful tribute about him. I can't begin to tell you how great that article was, and how beautiful his writing style was. It reminded me of my dad's.
I guess all those unexpected brain storming sessions with my dad paid off.
A great golfer, a great writer and just a really great guy.