Bird Droppings May 1, 2019
Trooper, pondering, remembering and digesting the stories
Forty six years ago I was a student at Mercer University in Macon Georgia. I had moved south only a few months before from Pennsylvania. Macon was new to me and I will admit I was a bit naive at the time. In the student center for those of us who lived off campus it was a place we could go grab some food and study between classes and socialize. I recall the day I met Trooper. Never one to be quiet and demure he demanded attention. You knew when he was around. Back then his typical outfit was a pair of ragged cutoff jeans and t-shirt thinking back that was just about year around. On that day several girls were gigging and screaming in the canteen as Trooper strolled by. He had inadvertently pulled down a tube top or two as he walked by. In today’s world the campus police would have been called in the 1970’s the girls were asking for an autograph. The fine line of perception.
I was working in a center for special needs children and adults and out of the blue this character shows up to volunteer. I see another side of this larger than life fellow from Mercer Campus. At that time he was not a student but would audit courses he liked. He worked for a band promoter as a bouncer of sorts keeping the guys in the bands in line. Needless to say we became good friends. Somehow he ended up volunteering at my center and a few weeks later I am a character witness at his drug trial. Was it synchronicity and or deliberate. If not for the next few years knowing him I would have said deliberate and my father thought that till the day he died. Trooper continued working at various programs after he escaped from jail and moved out of Macon. Never really sat down with my dad and went over all of that. Several stories there.
As I think back it’s the stories of all those years. Boys Club camping trips to North Carolina, a rustic cabin in Dahlonega, trips to Albany Georgia, meeting the sales rep for an archery company and a good one my wedding and him pulling a big Buck knife out to carve some frozen grapes from a table display. I weigh the god and great stories over the one or two bad ones.
Good stories, great stories and several sad stories all intermingle as I think back. About a year ago his daughter called and informed me he had been hospitalized. A year ago today great news he may be getting out of CCU and going to a regular room. Then a short time later he suffered a massive heart attack and they could not revive him. So a year later I sit thinking of all the stories. I had a long night of dreams last night. I thought back to how upset I was I had not traveled to visit him in many years and he visit me, we always had a reason. We had kept in near daily communication through social media arguing politics and remembering our stories.
With my mother passing a few weeks back and now thinking back to Troopers passing I am remembering time is often an enemy as we grow older. Our bodies are in a daily fight with us. You can do this but not that today. Can I get another minute with a friend or another conversation? A dear friend in Pennsylvania came up with this in an email. “Every time a classmate (and I would say friend) dies it means we’re closer to being the next one to go or closer to being the last one alive. The problem is, when I find out the answer to that question, I won’t be able to tell you.” I need to spend my time with family and friends more wisely.
I was reminded a few days back about stories my father would tell. I promised my brother and sisters I would write them down. I need to get them down. Now another group of stories need to be put on paper so they can be retold. It is our stories that give us life. I wish my my mother and my good friend trooper well in their new journey namaste.
My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)