Hanging 11

“Charlie don’t surf!”
But J.D. does.
And we’re all the better for it.
The only thing that gives me more pleasure than checking off my own Bucket List items is when my friends check things off theirs.
And because I’ve known the man for nearly 40 years now, and I know him to be much too low-key and humble to make a big deal of this on his own page, allow me …
After all, one of us has to be the sappy, sentimental one. Besides, I know he’s there, in Hawaii, celebrating his youngest’s high school graduation trip before she heads off to college in the fall. New puppy or no, that house is about to become awfully quiet.


And he won’t say this, but I know him and I know he’s not about to take the focus from her. Not even for a second.

So, again, allow me …


I try to surround myself only with really good people — funny people, sincere people, loving people, people who generally try to leave this planet better than when they arrived. This one checks all those off in my book and has done so since I met him at the end of the bench on the freshman basketball team in 1980. What we lacked in dribbling skills — and shooting skills, and passing skills, and rebounding skills, and … — we more than made up for with a shared love of journalism, the Dodgers, and hours of Strat-O-Matic baseball over a bag of Doritos and six-pack of root beer. We were even known to strike the “root” from that sentence and relocate to desolate cul-de-sacs throughout the hills of Corvallis.

He’s had a extremely challenging year or so of losing his mother, then his father, and most recently a sister — even his young, healthy dog basically got sick on a Wednesday and was gone by Sunday.

Yet he’s still good for hilarious, hour-long phone calls every few weeks and then, of course, he got up on this surfboard the other day. He made little of it — a random text with this photo and a hilarious one-liner.

The sheer joy that coursed through my veins when I read that reminded me of how my universe has taken such good care of me by putting such wonderful humans in my life.


He’d confided in me about a year ago that he’d always wanted to hang 10. You’ll have to pardon his procrastination. He’s been busy burying loved ones.

But here he is. Hanging 11 on that surfboard of life.

You know, just one more louder.



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