Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanks and regrets

I heard that a friend and colleague passed away this morning. Dennis was a warm friendly guy that knew his stuff and gladly shared his knowledge and experience. He had a joke when you needed one and some sage advice for those times he thought you needed a helping hand.

Dennis had a terrible time for the last 10 years. In the space of a couple of years his wife died, his dad died, his brother died. All one after the other.
Then he found out that the spot on his lung due to asbestos exposure was growing. They gave him less than a year. He was pretty down and I casually remarked that he still had his dog for company. Then the dog died. He hung on another 7 years,
So what could he find to give thanks about?
Dennis remarried fairly late in life, him and his first wife had no children, his second wife had 2 daughters. They became the loves of his life and they took care of him as much as he took care of them. I believe he loved them as much as a man can love another human being and he delighted in their company.
Dennis was a dedicated Boy Scout as a kid and loved to talk about the camping and hiking he did back then. We'd sit and talk when we were travelling to some ship in some far off place like Guam or Japan we both loved Scouting. We both used to watch cowboy movies and we both had Davy Crockett Coonskin hats when that movie came out in the 50's.

We didn't always agree on things. I know for a fact that Roy Rodgers was the true "King of the Cowboys" but Dennis insisted Gene Autry was a better singer.

We regularly traveled together. Dennis didn't drink, but put up with me. I had a thing about always getting a Mai Tai if we stopped in Hawaii, and when we went out to Guam we always had to change planes in Honolulu. On one trip we were on the airport bar and I was working my second Mai Tai when Dennis asked what time our flight to Guam left. I said I thought we had a couple of hours. Denny checked his ticket and dragged me out of there with enough time to squeeze thru the airplane door as it closed!

Dennis always wore a blue shirt, blue jeans, a pocket protector and black shoes. It didn't matter where you were. He must have owned 20 blue shirts. Ask him and he'd tell you "I like blue shirts".

The picture of him is on Guam, it's the most remote beach on the north of the island and tough to get to. It was scorching hot that day. I wore flip flops, shorts and a tee shirt. Dennis?

Denny I know you have found peace at last and relief from your suffering. We'll all miss you.
Thanks for being part of my life.

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