Monday, April 19, 2010

If an old friend asks…

to spend a little time, you should go.  I’m not talking about coming out for a beer with my and my crew.  Oh, I will be asking soon and you will make your own decision, but the folks who show up will have a good time.

I’m talking about a regret that I have.  Years ago, I had a friend named Bobby.  Bobby had a fraternal twin named Billy.  We really got to know each other during our senior year in high school and later in college at Carolina.  We ended up in the same dorm.  They didn’t drink so we didn’t spend nights out closing the bars, but we did spend quite a bit of time hanging out in their room.

I can’t remember which of them I followed to the basketball players dorm to get a bumper sticker signed for a handicapped child.  It seems more like a Billy thing.  That was a very interesting trip.  We stopped into Jimmy Black’s room and he was happy to sign.  He told us to wait and he would go get his roommate to sign as well.  He ducks into the bathroom and shortly thereafter, a totally naked James Worthy is standing in front of us asking for the pen.  I wish that memory was a bit more delable.

Bobby really saved my life when it came to calculus.  I started out doing great in class, but the further along the semester went, the worse my grades got.  Bobby tutored me and I squeaked by.  I never even had to ask.  That’s just the kind of guy is was.  We would ride to and from Charlotte some weekends.  They put up with my music as long as they could and then told me to change it as nicely as possible.

After college we went our separate ways.  I later ran into Bobby in Charlotte.  When he found out that I was working in Wilmington he made it clear that his job took him there often and that he would be calling me to come have a drink sometime soon.  And he did.

I was in my TV production career.  My job was putting together stories for a morning public interest show.  The show was on from 6-7 am five days a week.  Needless to say, I was early to bed and early to rise.  I was beat the evening that Bobby called.  I could have gone as it was still fairly early, but I postponed our meeting to another night.

A few weeks later, there was a story on the news at my station.  Robert Douglas Hurd had been shot by a jealous ex-boyfriend of a girl that Mr. Hurd was dating.  He was shot 6 or 7 times at close range with a .45 in a McDonalds parking lot around 8 am.  I wouldn’t get another chance to have a drink with that old friend.  Instead, I would host his family  at our TV station in Wilmington and attend a couple of half days of the murder trial.

I’ve seen Billy in the past few months.  We are both back in Charlotte and both making our way through life pretty well.  We’ve shared some laughs and I ask about his family, but I don’t mention Bobby even though he’s always there.  I don’t kid myself that having that drink would have changed his path or fate.  I do wish I had that one more memory to share and remember.  It was all so sudden.

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