Monday, February 20, 2006


I attended the visitation for my friend "Smooth" on Friday and saw many of the people I would have likely seen at the 20th anniversary high school reunion that I did not attend back in October. It was a weird scene: a room full of smiling people getting reacquainted while Smooth lay in state; cards atop his body saying "I love you Daddy" made by his children, a picture of him as a child beside the casket, and a picture of him and his wife and kids by the registry. I should have brought a Happy Meal toy from the mid-80's and surreptitiously placed it inside the coffin. Most of my memories of Smooth were from the days when we worked at McDonalds years ago. He went from fry cook to manager while he went to college. He refused to go on salary and at the end of his tenure there he was making more than the store manager. He was a smart dude. He was a great person with a snickering kind of laugh that will live in my memories long after I've forgotten things like when he dragged Bruno across the Mercury Plaza shopping center parking lot - Bruno hadn't quite gotten all the way inside Smooth's Toyota, or watching him change the grease out in the fry machines at McDonalds in 1985 (something he did every week - a messy and thankless job that he had volunteered to do), or the day he showed up to work so hoarse he could barely speak when I was on my second go around at McDonalds just to raise money to go to NYC. Smooth was hoarse because the girl he had gone out with the day before had fallen off a trail seriously injuring herself and he spent hours calling for help since he couldn't get down to where she fell and didn't think he would be able to find his way back there in the dark. Somebody eventually heard him screaming (a park ranger I believe) and a Lifeflight helicopter came to rescue his date. That girl later married Smooth and you figured nothing would ever harm them again. But life never goes as planned. It's a fluid thing and you never know when something unexpected might happen. Smooth left the party way too soon, but we were lucky to have him while we did. All of us that knew him were blessed by his good nature. It's why we could smile on Friday as we updated each other on our lives. Truly it was a sweet sorrow



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