The swirling cold winds of an autumn night blowing leaves from trees beckoned a chance to test out a new leaf blower purchased with a gift card sent by my friend Karen as a wedding gift. Fashioning a leather guitar strap into a sling for the blower served to preserve what’s left of the L1 vertebrae in my back. With gardening gloves on, the blower blowing at 225mph, I started attacking the dead leaves. Blowing their life-less corpses into piles ISIS would get a collective erection over, the lawn underneath revealed itself. Within a short period of time, I discovered the art and rhythm to blowing leaves. A normally mundane task takes on new meaning and perspective with the slightest attitude adjustment.
Bill taught me that.
Soon, a zen-like quality of blowin’ in the wind settled down this restless soul. Taking inventory of those moments in life when God allowed two lives to intersect led me to thoughts of Billy. That last year of late nights, calls, remote controls, meals, rides, grace and service while esteeming a brother higher than I flooded my head with gratitude. We were brothers in arms. Bill loved music. Here’s a song I never got to share with him.
Just like a castaway
Lost upon an endless sea
I saw you far away
Come to rescue me
Cast away the chains, Darling Pretty
Cast away the chains away behind
Take away my pain, my Darling Pretty
And the chains that once were yours and mine
Without any pedestaling intended, I might not be here were it not for Bill’s influence in my life. Bill “carried the message” with efficacy because he never forgot our chains were his. It’s that simple. There’s no PHD required to share one’s strength, hope, experience and failure with another. All it takes is a willingness to be transparent and being tuned into whatever is in front of our faces.
Bill taught me that.
Near the end, Bill had become very child-like in the truest sense of the term. Everything was the best. A fire burned deep. He referred to it as God wanting to “rekindle the dwindled” The elderly babes at his place of residence loved his company. He had such a great sense of humor, an infectious laugh, and a lust for life. Grateful this is our last picture taken together.