Tuesday, January 23, 2007

3 Good-byes

We often use "Good-Bye" as a way of saying "I'll see you later"....but there are times when the "see you later" doesn't materialize.

I have had 3 Good-byes I have made.......and because of these, I rarely use the word today.

In grammar school, I became friends with a guy named Scott. As the days progressed, we became "blood-brothers".....in the literal sense. I can recall the day when we each cut our fingers and merged our blood....back in the woods, at the creek, in Lithonia, Georgia. It was a pact that he and I never forgot. In 7th Grade, Scott moved to Hawaii. I was devastated! But I later learned that Scott had a disease that, at the time, required his moving to a more tropical climate. I visited him during the summer, after I graduated from grammar school. I spent a month in heaven!

Many years later, when we were both college students, Scott came to visit me....on a weekend after we had both had finished exams. I said "Good-bye" to Scott, as I headed to Macon, Georgia....and he headed back to North Carolina. I never saw my dear "blood brother" again..........

Fast forward to 1978......I was standing in the driveway of my childhood home....waiting for the Navy Recruiter to pick me up. I had enlisted in the Navy for a 4 year tour. I shook hands with my Dad.....I hugged my Mom and said "Good-bye".....I was choked-up, but excited to take on my new adventure. I saw my Mom's tears....though she says she cried her last tears years ago......

Another fast forward.......I am now a grown "man", with kids in college. I learn that my brother, Mark, has a form of cancer that is so agressive that there is little hope. I arrange for my other 2 brothers, and myself, to meet with Mark.....it would be our last gathering. In the past, my brothers and I would annually gather in Blairsville, Georgia....to play guitars, eat chili, drink beer and just bullshit. We're guys, you know. This was not that kind of gathering. We talked with Mark....and walked through his own gardens....but the 3 of us knew....our Mark would not be with us much longer.

My brother was showing fatigue from our visit, so I sort-of started the long process of getting us out the door......and I made one friggin' mistake......I said "Good-bye" to my friend and brother.

I don't say Good-bye anymore......and that word is no longer in my mental dictionary.

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