Hello September, goodbye Joe

The transition month begins with a lot of memorable news.

  • Yet another massive hurricane cripples Louisiana and the Gulf coast. It’s hard for me to understand why people continue to live in the low-lying areas there – they flood and get crushed over and over.
  • The Texas governor and legislature continue their attack on citizen’s rights, from voting suppression laws to a weird but effective (if left in place) repeal of Roe v Wade.
  • The forever war ends due to a courageous move by the Biden team. Yes, people died in the process but this is and was a war zone. The critics don’t have any better ideas; they’re just critics. I just read that the forever wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost us $300 million per day, every day, for twenty years! Imagine if that money had been spent on US citizen health, infrastructure, R&D and other constructive causes.
  • COVID-19/Delta continues to burn through the US. It’s now driving hospitalizations and deaths at the same rate as the worst days of 2020, before vaccines. Nature is a bitch.
  • My old friend and football team mate, Joe Hall, has his memorial service this weekend. I’ll be there.

It’s that last bit that I’ll elaborate on. Joe Hall died way too early of stage 4 cancer at age 63. Joe was an integral part of our championship 1970s high school football team, one of the players that kept our spirits high. He was funny, lovable, and tough as nails. I remember the time that Joe, playing linebacker, hit another player so hard that he bent his steel faceguard inward, very visibly. We were all shocked – those things just don’t bend. But Joe just carried on.

Joe was an orphan, raised in a group home (maybe the Ramey Home), so his high school buddies were pretty much his family. Joe married his high school sweetheart, Dawn Forrest, and they eventually settled in Florida. We’ll see Dawn this weekend. I spoke with Joe a few times over our adult years, but never visited (big regret there). He became a scratch golfer, which I was envious of. But good for Joe. I think the last time I saw Joe was at the 2003 reunion of the team at the high school, but I’ve combed through my pictures and don’t have any of him. I broke my yearbook out for the first time in years to see a few pictures of Joe. They brought a smile.

I suppose I’m at that age when more and more of the old gang will say goodbye to this life. Joe being one of the first is hard to take, and is a stark reminder that our time here is limited. Too short. But Joe is remembered, and this weekend his teammates and I will show up from all over the country to honor him. RIP, buddy.