Here in the Pacific northwest it's another wet and windy night in a time of year known for wet and wind. The weather isn't what is keeping me up tonight though. I'm not worried about the wife and kids any more than usual. They are all asleep, the wife 3000 some miles away until tomorrow night.
What's keeping me awake tonight are thoughts of a good friend from high school that somehow I let time and distance sweep out of my life. We lost him last week, and family and friends are poised to gather tomorrow morning to say goodbye. Not past 40 years old and gone. The medical cause of death is complicated, but the bottom line is addiction and his personal demons lost their fight with his better angels.
I know he had better angels. We grew up close to each other in a town that wasn't very big anyway. His dad taught our journalism class in high school. His mom was one of our youth leaders at church. Something happened though. Where I was able to wander in and out of party life in high school, and drink whisky all night tonight and not need a drink in the morning he couldn't.
I know it's insensitive and politically incorrect for me to be sitting here drinking a bottle of Irish whisky while I talk about losing a friend to alcohol, but it's my website. I didn't know this was the direction my words would take me when I poured the drink and started writing.
What I did know is that losing Patrick drove home that even the best of us can be lost in the blink of an eye. He was a gentle soul who loved art and photography for all that he tried to talk rough sometimes in school. It also made me wonder what is it that has made some relationships hold on over time and some fade into the background.
Twenty-one years ago when we graduated I never would have bet that Packy and I would go almost twenty years without talking to or even seeing each other. Of course three years before I graduated I would have bet against making it to 25 myself. Time can change your life and your priorities.
So tonight I think about the unfortunate twists and turns that separated friends, and lift a few glasses of my favorite Irish whisky while I wish an old friend was here to share it with me.