November 17, 2006

For Jeff.

I consider all the guys I work with to be either my younger brothers or sons- and all of them my friends. Today we lost one of my boys. Jeff was only 27. He was the most laid-back person you could ever meet. We used to joke that we could tell him that his ass was on fire and he'd very calmly look back, stroke his chin and say, "You're right. I should probably put that out." I never saw Jeff mad. Ever. In fact, I don't think you could catch him when he wasn't smiling. He was solid. You never had to guess what his mood was going to be like when you greeted him in the morning. He was one of the special guys, and one of my favorites.

The sadness hung over us today at the office, and I watched as we were gentle with each other. The normal banter was quieted. Voices were lowered. Tears were shed. We were reminded of the fragility of life. 27 is just too young. Especially for such a great guy. My heart goes out for Jeff's parents and brother. I can't imagine the pain they're going through.

I saw Jeff for the last time yesterday morning. I had just pulled into the parking lot and he caught me primping in my car and he proceeded to mock me. Then gave me one of his big grins. Had I known it was going to be the last time I saw him, I would have jumped out of my car, given him a great, big hug and let him know that I thought he was one helluva guy.

Jeff, I don't know if there's an afterlife, but I hope there's one for you. One that has great beer, good golf, beautiful women and Jerry Jeff Walker on the radio.

We'll miss you, but we'll never forget.

I promise.


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