Friday, August 8, 2008

My friend Dennis

I met him early in my freshman year of high school. My sophomore year I liked him more, because he was never afraid of my brother. He was rarely serious, but knew even way back then that he was going to someday be in law enforcement, so he never took a single drink, had a cigarette, or did any of the more exciting illicit drugs so widely available. He was going to be able to answer those questions with a resounding and completely honest No.

Dennis was always laughing or working to make others laugh.
He took me to see the Freddy Kruger movies, and made a fake Freddy Kruger glove that after the movie he used to tap on bedroom window. Should have been terrifying, except he couldn't stop laughing. Dennis didn't laugh like Freddy Kruger. He laughed the way kids playing in sprinklers do.

We were always friends, through all the high school drama, and later, he refused to let go of our friendship even when his first wife tried to demand he cut off all ties with his female friends from back then. He'd just shrug it off, saying 'they are my friends'. We talked less, but he always made time for me when I called to catch up - both of us knowing full well the days of anger and bitterness he would endure from his jealous wife.

About the time I moved to NC I found out he was in South Carolina, remarried, and finally working towards becoming a police officer. That first time, we spoke for hours. There was much to catch up on and we made the time to do so. We laughed a lot on that phone call. Dennis wasn't a part of anything bad in my life. He was always just a a true friend. His mission was always the same, to make you laugh, and let you know he cared. We talked about getting together for our high school reunion, and then neither of us went. We talked about him driving to North Carolina to visit, and hadn't gotten around to that yet either.

Yesterday, I got a call, Dennis had been shot and killed while working late the night of August 6th. I hate the imagery of him dying alone in the front yard of some vacant house. I realize we all die alone - but I hate it anyway.

I read this morning that they haven't found the responsible party yet. I sincerely hope whatever they took from that vacant house was worth it, and I sincerely hope they find you and hang your sorry ass from the tallest tree in the state.

Even here at the beach this morning, the world is a little uglier without Dennis.
We had one of those jokes - that aren't really funny - and no one else really gets, about him telling me the indicator brake light in his car was a reading light - and I argued what the hell could you read by that little light? His answer - Brake.

I miss you Dennis.


Mojo said...

Okay, now I get it.
The world's always a little grimmer when somebody is taken from it before their time. Especially somebody who brought so much to those around them.

But you're wrong about one thing JC. Dennis didn't die alone. He had his friends with him the whole way, even though they weren't facing the bullets with him.

So I'll add his name to the List of People I Wish I'd Known. Because he sounds like one of the Good Guys.

And if you need me, you know how to find me.

justrun said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to read this. What a wonderful friend and how great that you got to be around one of the good guys. Your memories of him will keep that spirit and that funny laugh with you.
Take care, friend.

tiff said...

Well, that's no fair.

My goes out to you, to his fmaily, and to his circle of friends, who without him are a little more poor. Again, I say 'no fair.'

Tracy Lynn said...

((((hugs)))) I ♥ you.

ciara said...

hi, i came by way of mojo...i'm so sorry about your friend. he sounds like a great person. i hope they do catch who did it. my heart and thoughts go out to you and dennis's family.

kenju said...

I'm sorry, JC. He was a good person, I think. I do love the brake light joke.

Carmi said...

My heart broke as I read this, knowing full well how it would end from your tone and choice of words.

I'll pray for you both, for a friendship that had roots and life, that continues in memory even though he was taken far too soon.

I'll applaud at the base of that tree when they catch whoever did this. Sometimes, I wish the monsters among us would simply disappear. Then we'd get to keep folks like Dennis around a little longer, and we wouldn't have to learn about him after he's gone.

quilly said...

Not even death can stop love, or sever a connection. Dennis is alive in your heart and he just lived in these words. I met him. And now, like you, I mourn his loss.

I have offered a prayer for Dennis and for everyone who loves him.

Mona said...

It sucks when a friend passes away like this suddenly!

May his soul rest in peace.

Carol said...

I am so sorry for your loss and I too hope they get the criminal that commited this heinous crime.

My condolences to you and Dennis's family.

Cravey said...

Thanks to you all for your kind words. I am always amazed at the kindness of strangers in the most awful situations.

Thank you again.,

Anonymous said...

He was always, always such a positive person.

I remember him joking about that wrestler from the '80's—“My friends call me gorgeous, I can’t help it—“. He thought it was so funny and anyone listening thought it was funny too, if only because it cracked him up so much. It’s so hard to imagine him being gone.

xo Lace

Peggy Payne said...

I'm sorry, too, JC. And I also got here via Mojo.

Gord H. said...

true friends are like diamonds. unique. to be held close to the chest. and never forgotten when lost.

thanks for telling part of Dennis' story.

gord h.

rennratt said...

I'm so sorry.


Scottsdale Girl said...

Big hugs to you... *sniff* just remember that when you think of Dennis he will be there with you...