The Gross National Debt

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Elwood joins them

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Yeah, it was one of "those" phone calls. I've had too many of them in my life.

This latest call brought me the news that Reginald Gerrard died Monday of a massive heart attack. I called him Elwood. He and I played the Blues Brothers twice a year at the annual CWOT in Warm Springs. I was Jake.

Reg, Elwood, whatever you wish to call him is only the latest in a group of brothers in ink who have left this reality and go on to whatever is next.

The roll call is long. It starts with Jim "Mr. Joe" Joseph, one of my college journalism professors and one of three teachers to whom my first book is dedicated. Mr. Joe left with a heart attack as well. I spoke to Miz Joe not long after he died.

While I can't swear to it, I strongly suspect the second to go that way from my cadre was Robert Grove "Bob" Fischer. I lost touch with him when I moved back to God's Country from Nevada. When I left the west, he was suffering from a pretty severe cough and a few other ailments. He also smoked unfiltered cancer sticks for most of his life. He was in his 60s.

In no particular order from here:

A heart attack took a fishing buddy and newspaper columnist in Florida. Miss ya Bill.

He beat pancreatic cancer, but Bill Schulz gave up when doctors told him he had liver cancer.

Cancer also took Allen "Wally" Walworth, a real native American, genius and someone who saw humor in absolutely everything.

Cancer took Tom Rollins, who along with Bill S. sponsored me for membership into the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association. Miz Mona was not long behind him with cancer of her own.

Miz Lois died quietly in her sleep, leaving Bill Patridge some while without her. He too met that last deadline.

BZ "Beez" Leonard was the voice of reason and moderation in the Net Wits. She died quietly in nursing home with family and friends.

Max "Maxie" Ridley died from complications from the dialysis port in his arm. I still remember his last email, in which he laughed about the port "exploding."

The cancer that was killing him didn't succeed. Pneumonia contracted while undergoing radiation destroyed the lungs of LeRoy Powell.

Marta loved West By God Virginia and those mountains. She died peacefully in a rocking chair on her porch, leaving a pair of teenagers behind. She never spoke of the pain her ailing heart was putting her through.

While I did not know him as long as some others, Austin Saxon worked for and edited the paper I now edit for nearly as long as I have now been alive. He taught me much about community newspapers.

Bocephus says if Heaven ain't a lot like Dixie, he don't wanna go. I agree with that, but must also say if they don't have a place for us hacks to enjoy cold ones while talking about the business we love so much, yeah, I'm not sure if I'm interested in going.

Anyway, Elwood, I hope you're making the rounds with  these and other writers who met their final deadline.

For all the rest of us, life's short. Hug often.

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