Walking on air

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by B_Hickboy, Nov 16, 2007.

  1. B_Hickboy

    B_Hickboy New Member

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    That twinge in your intestines
    My friend Harry would have been 71 today. He was a brilliant man with the sort of kind, loving, generous spirit that one is fortunate to encounter once in a lifetime. He grew up in India, tenth child and only boy. His father was a captain in the English army and his mother was a Proper English Lady. He grew up a kind of wild child, running the jungles with his buddies, until age of eleven, when they finally ran him down and made him go to school. In the next six years he did enough schoolwork to get himself admitted to Cambridge, from which he was graduated with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. He managed, in the next 40 years, to have a career that consisted of, among other things, designing switches for the London subway system and small appliances for General electric, and neon animations. He was also a skilled portait painter. In my life, he has been the one True Intellectual with whom I could exchange ideas and get into heated discussions without affecting one jot the affection we felt for each other.

    During the 90s he developed circulatory problems and wound up having his aorta replaced with a dacron graft, an operation that took almost 20 hours. A couple of years later on a flight to New Zealand to visit his nephew, the circulation collapsed in his left leg and twelve hours later it was amputated by inept Kiwi doctors. It took another two years to get all the problems with the wound sorted out, during which he decided to go back to England so their medical system could take care of him. The day he left we hugged and cried all over each other at Charlotte Douglas Airport, both convinced that we'd never see each other again.

    Harry wound up living in Bath, where his daughter lives. The British doctors told him that the best care for his wound would be in Rock Hill, SC, which is about a twenty minute drive from where I was living in Charlotte. So after having a big laugh celebrating the irony of it all, he wound up back with me for a while. After a brief stay in the hospital, he came back to Charlotte for a few months so the doctors could keep up with his progress. His wound was much improved, to the point where life was back to near normal for him, so he went back to Olde Blightey, and was able to make the trip back and forth over the Atlantic for a couple of visits to his beloved Las Vegas where he won thousands of dollars playing the nickel slots, of all things.

    One week in September 2003 I got an email from Harry mentioning how excited he was to be going, around his birthday in November, to the opera at the newly refurbished Royal Albert Hall. His other daughter was going to fly over from Toronto and they were going to go together. The following sunday I got an email from his daughter in Somerset saying that he had been admitted to hospital with headaches and that she would keep me posted. Monday I got word that he has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and had slipped into a coma. Thursday came the email that he'd died.

    I miss him every day, especially on his birthday, because we used to celebrate it together every year. The man knew how to party.

    Today, though, rather than grieving, I'm mostly walking on air. Another good friend of mine, a member of this board, remembered that it was Harry's birthday, and made a nice gift to National Brain Tumor Foundation in memory of Harry on his birthday. I couldn't think of a nicer way to commemorate the life of this wonderful man and at the same time show a prodigious amount of love for me. I love you back, my friend. Your place in my heart is there forever.

    This is the best day of my life, and all I've done so far is wake up, read my emails, and write this post. This day has promise.
     
  2. B_Think_Kink

    B_Think_Kink New Member

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    I'm sorry to hear that you have lost a close friend. He was very successful in life and has touched the lives of many people who might not even know. The fact that you are holding him dear to you says a lot and he will be sadly missed but greatly remembered. Keeping memories of people is important and should be done frequently so we are not to forget what we've made of ourselves with the aid of those who have gone before us. May Harry rest peacefully.
     
  3. ManlyBanisters

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    Doubtless I'll be cracking open a bottle of something dark red and mildly intoxicating after work this evening. I'll raise a glass to Harry.
     
  4. prepstudinsc

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    Hick, what a nice story and tribute to a friend. We all should celebrate the good memories of people who live in our hearts.
     
  5. naughty

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    Workin' up a good pot of mad!
    L,

    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. He sounds as if he was a man who was much loved and will be sorely missed. THank you for sharing your memories about him with us. We should all hope to have a few people or even one such person in the course of our lives for whom we can call friend.
     
  6. D_Roland_D_Hay

    D_Roland_D_Hay Account Disabled

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    Hick,
    What a fantastic way to remember your friend on his special day. Instead of mourning your loss, you shared his story with others. I love your outlook and way of remembering your friend. You made an impact on my life...thank you!
     
  7. B_Hickboy

    B_Hickboy New Member

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    That twinge in your intestines
    Thanks for all the kind words, folks! Especially you, ManlyBanisters.
     
  8. goodwood

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    HIck -
    I am terribly sorry to hear of this news and the loss of your dear friend.
    You of all people know how fortunate you were to have had him as a
    great friend. I believe you will remember him well. In the spirit of Harry,
    drinks all around on me!
     
  9. Not_Punny

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    I'm having a beer right now, and I'm raising my glass to a man that sounds like my kinda fellow.

    cheers!

    And here's a toast to you, too, HB. Double cheers!
     
  10. viking1

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    Hickboy, I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. Great tribute story about him, though.
     
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