Thursday, March 30, 2006

My Best Friend, Eddie Wilson

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.


Anonymous said...

Wow. Larry, there just aren't words to say "thank you" properly. I hope that you know how much I appreciate you sharing your story and your heart with us.

I've been through weeks like this. You'll be in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

"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."

My heart grieves for you, Larry. I found myself saying the very same a few years ago.

Two people in my life died unexpectedly and before I'd expressed to them my deepest, deepest love. If only, if only, if only. Every time I'd think of them I'd ask myself why I lost touch in the first place. Any answers I could find simply reflected my own carelessness and self-interest. Sobering stuff. But changeable; I determined to strike "if only" from my vocabulary.

I'm now in the process of finding other friends with whom I've lost touch, so I can tell them how grateful I am to have had them in my life. I've already reached a dozen or so. While not always easy - and often time consuming - this has been one of the most fulfilling things I've ever done.

I still miss my two friends, and expect I always will. But I also celebrate their lives and the legacy they've left me.

I your sadness, I pray for your peace and understanding, Larry. God bless you.

Even in our sleep
pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop
upon the heart
in our own despair
against our will
comes wisdom
through the awful grace of God.


Brady said...

Thanks for sharing, again, from the heart. There is a good friend I must get a hold of, and I've been putting it off.

It is so easy to lose track of people, then to lose them forever.