I was in my late 20s when my maternal grandfather passed away. And what was memorable, besides the thousand and one things he left me - tangible and otherwise - was that, the night before he went, he called me, and called my sister, and my mom and dad, and talked of this and that. Then he went down to his basement on that cold February night to make sure that his notably balky furnace was working ok. Then he said goodnight to my grandmother, and he went to bed and suffered a myocardial infarction from which there was no coming back.
I think of that a lot because it often happens that people seem to get some forewarning, a harbinger that leads them to call around or say goodbye after a fashion. My good buddy Brian Carter passed away on Saturday night. We found out the modern way; his brother Bennett posted the awful news on Facebook Sunday around lunchtime. And as I chatted with his other friends about it, it turned out that he had been FB chatting with three or four other radio legends on Saturday evening, in effect saying goodbye without even knowing it.
I taught Brian at the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland back in '78, but any teacher will know what I'm talking about when I say that certain students require a lot less teaching than others. BC was a natural in school and in the many stations and formats that he worked over the years since. At the first station he worked for, he did a country music shift - called "Carter Country" after a then-popular TV show. If you saw him posting songs on his page, you know he posted stuff by everyone from Tony! Toni! Toné! to Tony Bennett, from Grandmaster Flash to Grand Funk, and he appreciated every kind of music. In his career, he was on top stations in DC, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and was working at WBLS in New York when his life came to an end. He achieved great things in his chosen line of work, but he did not allow that to swell his head. He was the same good-natured guy all along.
I'll miss him sharing music and knowledge, and he often had my back in the philosophical arguments that rage on the 'net. Another friend said on the Facebook that, "No one ever said a bad word about BC, because there were no bad words to say about him." To honor his memory, I am going to try to find even an extra measure of enjoyment out of every little thing in life, the way BC always did, and I am going to tell people that I love them even more often than I do now.
Because, I missed my last chance to tell him, and I wish I hadn't.