And So It Begins

I remember my grandparents always talking about people who had died.  Now my parents do.  The longer you live, the more people around you die.  I had two friends die last week.  I sometimes joke that I try to make younger friends so that I will outlive them.  Well, James was 6 years younger than I am. I took this photo last year right after he had open heart surgery.  It wasn’t his heart that killed him though, or maybe it was.  He dove in to the Salt River to rescue a dog and drowned in the process.  I lost touch with James after I left New Jersey in 1983.  When he showed up here with a complicated and confusing tale of love, betrayal, and legal issues a couple years ago, I didn’t know what to make of it.  To me, he was still that sweet teenager who never shaved and thus had a downy soft beard that girls loved. He was the definition of “mellow”.  I couldn’t reconcile his present with my memories of his past, so we didn’t connect very effectively here.  I went to see him immediately after his surgery, took this photo, and then never saw him again. He should have had 30 more years, at least.