Let me take you to rural South Carolina circa October 1983, before my beloved E was even born. I was in kindergarten, yeah I know I’m a cradle robber, and my buddies and I were on the playground having a good time. We were doing our best impersonations our favorite wrestlers. I of course was The Nature Boy. Call me lame, but I was always a sucker for a good heel and there’s never been one better than Ric Flair. My best friend B loved Ricky Steamboat. Everything was going great until the girls showed up. B upped it a notch to either impress or run them off I’m still not sure which. Either way he knocks me down and climbs up on the climbing toy, aka the top rope, and delivers Steamboat’s signature finishing move. Too bad he landed boot heel first on my shoulder and snapped my collar bone like a twig.
Flash forward 30+ years and we’re still great friends, brothers is more accurate. His wife, J, and E are best friends as well. He’s been a constant influence on my life for over 30 years. He’s an incredibly talented artist, photographer, athlete and just about anything he ever tries. He’s taught me that blood isn’t the only thing that creates family. Bonds grown out of love and mutual respect are just as strong if not stronger than any bond created by shared DNA.
We shared great times and unbelievable sad times. I was a groomsmen in his wedding and he blessed us with the wonderful gift of donating his photography skills at our wedding.
Probably the greatest joy we’ve shared was finding out that after years of trying J was pregnant, unfortunately less than a month later it was followed up with one of the lowest points of my life when they found out she had miscarried. That loss shook my entire foundation. I was angry at myself for having a kid and them not and I was pissed at God for pulling the rug out from under them. Later I would be torn between the joy that BG was on the way and this wonderful couple had nothing but this tragic loss.
Their baby would be just a few months older than BG. I often imagine what those two kids would grow to be. Best friends? Husband and wife? Would they even like each other? The thing is I’ll never know, but what I do know is that he’s my brother and he deserves better.