Tuesday, August 9, 2016

celebration of life

Let me start off by saying there is nothing more life-affirming than a Varsity dog and fried peach pie. 

The second time this year one of Buddy's co-workers, a.k.a. Road Warriors has bit the dust, found in their camper after not showing up for work. Buddy had just talked to him on the phone a few days earlier. He was only 59, and it was this man's wedding anniversary. A very sad time in the company. I emailed Buddy's project manager at the main office and gave him the address and site # of Buddy's campground in case he doesn't show up one day... just saying.

These guys have a hard stressful job, working out of town for months at a time, away from family and friends, and having to work with idiots on a daily basis, all while watching the ever pressing deadline of the schedule.

Buddy did not make the trip home for his friend, Brad's funeral, so Melissa and I went in his stead. The obit stated it would be a Celebration of Life, and it was a celebration of life indeed, memories by old fishing buddies, letters read from daughters, a big turnout, a celebration.

I don't remember ever meeting this man, but I feel like I know him after hearing all the stories, he was apparently very much fun, always with a big smile, liked to fish and kid around and loved his family. And loved LSU, apparently, there were references to the college evident everywhere, one man (that looked just like Brad - maybe a brother?) had on a LSU jersey at the funeral. Numerous stories of Brad's sense of humor and infectious smile. The preacher, also a lifelong friend, said, "Brad is not here (pointing to the casket), that is just a shell… the nut went to heaven."

The three fishing buddies told stories of their 20 years together, no matter where they are in the country, they meet up for one week of fishing and camping and good fellowship in nature. One of them, an Alabama fan, even pulled out a LSU hat and put in on, saying, "I know Brad is smiling now, seeing me in, 1) a suit and, 2) a LSU cap."

There were a lot of co-workers there, management folks, estimators, project managers, a couple of the girls from the office (who as we all know do the real work). The president of the company, Marty, a long time friend who worked with Buddy back at Hardin, is going up to Pennsylvania to drive back the truck and camper for the family, which I thought was a very nice thing to do.

After the service I spotted the widow and waited my turn to speak to her. She looked at me with a questioning look, like do I know you? I leaned in for a big hug and told her I was sent to give her this hug from Buddy Tidwell. She lit up then, "Buddy! Brad loved Buddy! Are you Susan? Oh we love Buddy's Christmas letters, when it would arrive, Brad would make me stop and listen to him read it. Yep, Brad loved him some Buddy. Brad loved him some Buddy." She must have said that about 15 times :)

We continued the celebration of life by stopping by the Varsity on the way home, maybe overdressed in our matching black and pearls, but it was Sunday afternoon and in the South that is just fine.

So once again, you never know when it is your time or one of your loved ones, so call your mom or dad, give your kids a hug before they leave, share a trip to the Varsity. It is worth repeating, there is nothing more life-affirming than a Varsity dog and fried peach pie.

1 comment:

Buddy said...