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  Goodbye to a Friend    

A friend of mine died last week.  He was 50 years old and I had known him for 25 years.  I met him in 1982 in Camden, Arkansas.  We both worked the evening shift.  He was from Memphis and claimed to have met Elvis once or twice.  I don’t doubt that he had.  He was funny, friendly and a pleasure to be around.  When the product line we worked on moved to Tucson we both went too.  For various reasons, work, life and all sorts of other explanations we eventually saw less of one another.  We would bump into each other at work or maybe somewhere in town and visit a little catching up on things.  Occasionally we would have breakfast in the cafeteria at work and talk about Camden and people we remembered.  He loved music and could play the guitar and he could do a very good Bob Dylan impersonation.  He volunteered at a local radio station and hosted a two hour show every Tuesday night- from 6:00 to 8:00.  I listened to it here in Japan via the internet and because of the time difference I got it from 10 to noon on Wednesday mornings.  I enjoyed listening to it at work and hearing that very distinctive drawl of his through the headphones somehow made the South seem a little less far away.  When he died the radio station posted the announcement and provided space for people to leave their thoughts and remembrances of him.  So many people responded.  What an impact he had made.  So many friends he had.  As I read all the posts I realized I had only known one small aspect of him…almost like I really hardly knew him at all.  The last time I saw him was in September of 2006.  We had breakfast in the cafeteria and a few days later I left for Japan.  I was in Tucson last June and I looked for my old friend.  He wasn’t at his desk and when I inquired to his neighbors they all said, “haven’t seen him today” without even looking up.  I guessed he was at a meeting in some other building somewhere so I left.... thinking I’ll catch him next time I’m in town.  I didn’t listen to his last radio show either, it had been a busy morning and by the time I remembered it was almost over.  Catch him next week I thought.  I had known Chris for twenty five years but the time and Chris were gone too fast.

Farewell Chris, rest in peace.