I think of myself as someone who deals with death pretty matter of factly. I become sad, but I'm pretty well adjusted to the fact that people DO indeed die and it isn't fair, it isn't right, and sometimes you have to suck it up and go on because this is just how things go. I credit my Grandmother Drake for this somewhat, for constantly dragging me to viewings of people I didn't or did know. I also largely credit my own mother who taught me that life isn't fair, and it isn't ever going to be, so there is no need to dwell on that fact.
Today when I first woke up I saw an image of the Cinncinati regional airport and a blurb about a Comair crash. I've flown Comair - I remarked to the spouse, and continued putzing around the house. I didn't bother to read the story. Plane crashed out of the Cincinnati airport....yes? (Which by the way is actually in Kentucky but whatever, not relevant).
Spouse says - no......look at THIS picture? Recognize this?
Bluegrass airport. Lexington Kentucky. Which was once home.
It took my breath away, the way things that happen in places you love do, but we went on about our day. How often does tragedy actually reach out and knock you on the head, after all?
I wrote yesterday about how the phone can ring and it can be the best news, the news you were waiting for breathlessly. Today, in the back of my mind, I kept listening for my phone to ring. But it didn't ring and a fine day was had.
At suppertime I took my phone out of my backpack to invite Leslie to dinner and saw I had missed messages. Multiple messages. All from Lexington.
Sometimes you move to a place and it becomes home even though it isn't. Sometimes you meet people and they become like your family even though they aren't. They are people who you love almost as soon as you meet them. You know things about them just by the first conversation you have, and they are things you like. You feel connected. And even though you move 1000 miles away, when you touch base, you still feel the vibe.
On flight 5191 were many people, including several from my former place of employment. But I would like to tell you about just ONE someone you will never get to meet that was among them. His name was Bobby Meaux.
Bobby was a natural leader. It's difficult to explain. When he was on the phones and new initiatives would roll out, Bobby would be the rep on the floor that the other reps looked to for example, to embrace or not. He was upbeat. He was positive, and he was charming. He was a lot of good things. People followed Bobby, and they didn't even know they were doing it.
He might have been some bad things too but I don't really know what they were.
Bobby and I had a joke that we thought was hilarious when we worked together. One day in the break room we saw a short "weather break" where they were interviewing a "Man on the Street" type of deal who was going ON about how he just WISHED there was some sort of way to KNOW when we were going to get these big thunderstorms. Probably made the weatherman feel sort of stupid. Bobby and I completely cracked up.
After that when we had bad weather we'd both complain LOUD AND LONG to anyone around about how we WISHED for some sort of technology to forecast the weather. And no one else ever understood what the hell we were talking about. Of course this was hilarious to us, especially when someone would try to EXPLAIN to us about radar and the weather channel - which happened more than once.
Bobby wrecked his car (a white Fiero) once and called me instead of 911. I think he was just confused and work was on his cell phone. 911 wasn't.
For my going away present, when I left the company, he gave me an Indiana University Tshirt that I had always envied when he wore it. He gave it to me because he knew I loved it and he didn't think they made it anymore.
I flipped on to my fantasty football league to see if he had already built his team, because he always plays - and I think that might have been too much to bear seeing it there. But it wasn't there yet. He still had time to fill it out.
These are just some of the things popping around in my head this evening. I've never had to deal with flipping on the TV and seeing on CNN the fiery mess that was the end of a friend. It's callous, the way the news reports tragedy.
But what I really want to say is that the world lost someone who did great things during his time with us. He was kind. He made people feel important. He understood that what he did touched people and effected their lives and made an effort to do it well. Some people will never be the president, will never touch millions or save the whales, but their hearts are full of kindness and when they touch you, you are never the same again.
Bobby Meaux was one of those people. And I will miss him forever.