Eddie Wilson and I were best friends growing up.
He lived just across the street from me all those early years.
We weren't much alike really.
I remember him sitting for what seemed like hours reading World Book encyclopedias. Me, I was always trying to get him outside to play baseball or our special version of "home run derby."
I recall on one occasion during the hot, Texas summer, we built a 9-hole golf course on the vacant lot behind his house. Our makeshift ball field was marked out on the lot next to my house.
We rode our bikes from one end of town to the other almost every day.
His grandparents lived out in the old town of Renner--totally "condoed over" these days! We often visited the 1st Baptist Church of Renner, especially during Vacation Bible School in the summer.
We pretty much did everything together, even after we reached high school.
I remember he was the student trainer for our football team at Richardson High School our senior year. I played on the team.
We tried to stay in touch after graduation. He visited me during two-a-day football workouts that first year I was in college. I actually think he wanted to be in school where I was, but it never worked out.
We was best man in my wedding. I performed the wedding ceremony the first time he married.
But after we both married, we just didn't see each other much.
He dropped out of college and went to work for the U. S. Postal Service.
For years we called each other on our birthdays and we exchanged cards.
But, then something just happened to him.
He disappeared from my life. He moved to another part of the state. Our contact was less and less frequent.
After both of his parents died, all of our contact pretty much came to an end.
I ran into him and his second wife at a shopping mall one evening and we talked for a little while.
I hadn't heard from him for years, nor had many of his family members on his mom's side. . .until a few days ago.
Eddie Wilson died in East Texas pretty much alone early last week.
The pain hit me pretty hard in a surprising way. I guess growing up like brothers, both of us being only children, made a larger indent on my soul than I had ever realized or understood.
I catch myself thinking of him every day now. And do I have some memories!
I wish I had tried harder to re-connect.
He was my best friend. And, I realize like never before that counts for an awful lot in life.
Rest in peace, Pads.