No excuse for not staying in touch


February 22, 2012

It’s hard to keep up with old friends and former coworkers.

They promised me email, Facebook and cell phones would change all that. Eventually we find out that people change email addresses for one reason or another and Facebook is great for reconnecting but not very personal. Cell phones, well they don’t keep us any better connected than the old phone on the wall.

In the last week, two of those old friends and coworkers met their final deadline. One died suddenly and unexpectedly, the other suffered through a protracted bout with cancer. Both had in common a love for getting to know people. Both befriended people quickly and didn’t judge anyone on face value, preferring instead to get beneath the surface layer and try to find out what makes people tick.

Not surprisingly both were good listeners — at least during the time I was around them a lot. Both were pretty fiercely independent and did things their own way.

It’s pretty strange that I mostly fell out of touch with both of these individuals for years. I reconnected in a really shallow way with one on Facebook and occasionally ran into the other out at a restaurant from time to time.

It makes me wonder whether staying connected to lifelong friends wasn’t easier when we relied on letter writing and the U.S. Postal Service — back when the days, weeks, seasons didn’t seem to fly by so quickly.

No, I think back and there were even more unwritten letters than unwritten emails.

I don’t think I’m a rotten friend, though it’s hard not to feel a little guilty when someone passes away and you have lost touch with them.

I guess it’s just that things keep moving faster and faster and Lord knows I sometimes have enough trouble just showing the people who are in my life every day that I care about them.

I’ve worked with so many people over the years sometimes it’s tough to even pull some of the names out of the memory bank. Some, like the two that recently passed are easy to remember. Others, will probably my autobiography someday for the stupid stuff they pulled. These two will be in there with mostly fond memories.

Who am I kidding, if I can’t even find the time to stay in touch with my friends, that book will probably never get written.

I’m going to try to get on the right track by writing long emails to three different people before the weekend is over. No football, so that should be easy enough.

For Kirby Rowan and Catherine Priddy Bugg it will be a little late to write that letter. Maybe they’ll understand. They both dedicated themselves, in their own time, to making sure folks got their local newspapers.

The best I can do now is dedicate this piece of copy to them and end it with the old-timers way of denoting the end of a piece of copy — a simple number at the end of the page.


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