High school, for me, was fun. I'm not gonna tell you that it was perfect--it wasn't. There were heartbreaks and broken promises, there was disillusion and disempowerment, there were moments of being and moments of rage. But, on the whole, it was a good time, and most of that good time happened because of the close circle of friends to which I belonged.
There were four of us, and we spent, literally, every possible moment that we could together--writing notes during the day, going to each other's houses in the afternoons and on weekends, band trips (yes, I was in band--how surprised are you?) and family vacations and out-of-town concerts (We totally saw U2 in Birmingham from the FRONT ROW). After high school, we stayed friends... sort of. Everybody's off doing important things--and we see each other occasionally when we are home. Thanks to things like Myspace and blogs, we can keep in touch virtually, as well.
This weekend, one of our dads died. I say, "our dad," not to belittle the suffering of his three natural daughters and his devoted wife. I say "our dad" because we grew up, the four of us, with four different families to keep us on track. Because of the time we spent together, I think that sometimes our parents would get confused--and so, all of us became targets for parental direction, regardless of biology. It was infuriating. At the time. Now I look back and recognize that my high school days were filled with goodness because we moved in those love-filled, laughter-rich, safety-guaranteed spaces.
We are powerful, intelligent, brave women--mostly because we grew up in that universe.
So, Saturday, one of our dads died. He was a marvelous teller of stories--and he had a memory that seemed to be particularly designed to catch and keep the most ridiculous things high school girls can do. He was a devoted husband, a bemused father, a gleeful grandfather, a wonderful friend, a raucous debater, a trivia master, a die-hard Tennessee fan, and a good man. He was good at life, and he knew it. All of the people whose lives he touched are reeling from his loss.
This is my would-be eulogy for a man that I am glad I knew. We are better for having known you, Chuck, and we will miss you. Oh, yeah--and thanks for all the Doritos.