My old friend Marty left the planet this month.  Thing is, he wasn’t old.  49.  Diagnosed with cancer this summer and gone 6 months later.  I heard in his voice on the phone what a beating he was taking, but because I didn’t actually see him ill, my brain still thinks of him as the strong, big shouldered, big hands, big heart guy who would always help a neighbor in need.

This has been a bad year for unexpected departures.  It just reinforces the mantra I’ve carried around that Life is Short and Then You Die.  Reinforces the drive to get out there with the boat and be a good ambassador in the world.  You can’t wait till everything is perfectly in place before making the leap, if you did you’d never go anywhere.

Marty was good to people.  He was a solid team player and did what he was supposed to do.  He was a home town boy, reliable, and steady.  He was the guy with the snowplow in the winter, he cooked the chicken for the firemen’s picnic, hunted for his one allotted deer in the Fall.

It really sucks that now he doesn’t get to enjoy his retirement that he dutifully saved for, or to become one of the old farts around town shooting the breeze with the other townies, setting up an ice fishing shanty, and loitering in the hardware store.

My grandfather said posthumously that when you die you get to revisit the times and places during your life that were the best, and so advised to make the most of life so the buffet of choices is large and wonderful.  If that is true, Marty is relaxing in the woods he loved, or flying into Canada in a little two seater, or just riding round and round on that lawnmower in his backyard.  I miss you Marty.

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