- ...sustain'd and soothed
- By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,
- Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
- About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
- from Thanatopsis by William Cullen "Bear" Bryant
Last Monday morning, our town was shocked when a guy who owned and operated a Hess gas station on Joppa Rd was shot and killed during an apparent holdup. You usually don't see armed holdups take place during rush hour traffic, which tends to impede the getaway vehicle. Still, the town was abuzz all week with wonderment about who could have done this horrible deed.
On Sunday's early evening news, one of the stations was talking to a family friend who went on and on about how devoted the man's wife had been, and what a wonderful family they all were, and he knew one of their kids very well, and what a "disgusting" deed it was on the part of the police to arrest the man's wife just before his funeral service was held on Saturday evening.
Except that, probably at the same time the family friend was orating on the news, the wife was back at Police Headquarters signing a confession to the whole deal. It turns out, from initial reports, that she got her family in on the rub-out, and one family member brought a gun to the operation, and one knew of a couple of gunslingers who would do the job for 9 thousand dollars.
While all this was going on, I got the news that a guy who grew up right across the street from me, just three years younger than I, had only recently been diagnosed with testicular cancer, and had died while in an induced coma as doctors raced to save his life.
Death. The more you think about it, the more you realize that it plays no favorites. Here is a gas station owner whose wife, for whatever reason, chooses to end his life, and with it, effectively, her own, and several other people as well who will end up doing big time for this. Then my childhood buddy, who was hard-working and industrious, comes down with this damned disease and he's gone too. Last Monday morning, both of these people were here, and here they are no longer.
I'm going to appreciate everything today. I don't know how many tomorrows I have. People say I hand out compliments like Bush handed fat war-machine contracts to Halliburton*, and I say, if you don't take the time to do these things while you have the time, you're gonna wish you had, when you don't.
* My buddy Jeff would be so disappointed if I wrote an entire note without a slam at #43.