One year ago I was anticipating tomorrow being Ground Hog Day – that silly ‘holiday’ alleged to determine if Winter is on her way out, or lasting six more weeks. Based on the prognostication of a marmot; a woodchuck.
It was a Wednesday – the immediate previous Sunday, Mark Bell and I had attended the Central Arizona Blogshoot in Casa Grande! My car is kinda old and infirmed (as is her owner) so he offered to drive us.
We arrived late, but Kevin Baker and company showed us a great time! We met some other gun bloggers and some other shooters – great fun. Then Mark drove me back to Phoenix, and we had a late lunch at Original Hamburger Works. I was unable to attend the shoot this year.
Part of the reason for missing it is my ride is gone. On Wednesday, February 1, 2012, three days after the shoot, Mark Bell passed away, suddenly. His wife called me Thursday, Ground Hog Day, to give me the bad news. It’s a year later and it seems as yesterday.
I tend to get overly emotional, to react rather than act. I am getting better. Mark was my teacher. I never saw him lose his cool or express strong anger or rage. He was always rational and soft spoken, even in disagreement. A man of fine character and deportment.
A few years back, I was in the middle of trying to refinance my house (the one I lost last June) and the appraiser asked that I paint the trim. Now, I’m no painter, and being disabled would make this an arduous task. Mark volunteered, and I insisted on paying him, because, after all, it WAS work. He agreed, and said he would take it out of my extra re-fi funds. He accomplished the task in a couple weekends, and I got the financing. And I cut him a check. This was in late November.
Christmas afternoon I was between family Christmas get-togethers, and there was a knock at my front door. It was Mark, with a present! He again thanked ME for letting him paint (!) said he used the money for presents for his family. There was room for an additional present. Mine.
I was dumbfounded. It was the complete Capitol Record selections of Frank Sinatra on DVD! Wonderful!
Of course, every time I listen to Sinatra, I think of Mark. And other times, too.
I love you and miss you, my friend.
Remember – hug those you love and tell them you love them. Because you never know. Groundhog Day Eve will never be the same.