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2004-07-02 - 8:19 p.m.

While I've often lived in the fast lane, I've been lucky in that friends and aquaintences weren't dropping like flies in my earlier years.

Even so, as you age, Death becomes a more consistant companion. I was reminiscing with my significant other tonight about John Labarge, one of my most true friends, the only person who knew wife one, two and three. John apparently passed away mid-last year of cancer. I found out a few weeks ago when I tried to contact him at work again after having failed multiple times in the last two years. His co-workers told me he just didn't show up one day, then his sister came in and gave them the bad news that he had died. No one even knew he was sick. I bet he was an uncounted victim of agent orange and the Viet Nam war. He had served in the highlands with the Hmong people for years.

He was crazy about "Amy", my significant other, and used to always say that if I wanted to get rid of her, to call him first!

Whenever I traverse the Mojave Desert I think of John and his love of driving off the road till the sun went down and setting up camp in the desert.

I lost another friend of Aids in 1996. When I met Michael Reilly he had already lost all his friends to Aids. I was his only friend straight or otherwise. In spite of knowing he had full blown aids from the day I met him, it never occurred to me he would just die one day. He was just too composed and optomistic.

I felt like I failed him for not being there and realizing his impending death.

I also felt I failed Dave Nelson by not having seen him

prior to his sudden heart attack, and Phil Heinlien, who I went to school with, and put off the last time he called because we had a tempestuous relationship. The next week at Goat Rock at the Sonoma county beach, He was struck down instantly by a heart attack. Ivan Root was a friend and sometime employer who always told me if I needed a job he'd take care of me. (Job wise). He was a big guy and a true friend. When he had his heart attack, it was like not only a friend gone, but a vital part of my security plan and life.

I guess one thing I'm realizing is that these inadequate feelings are not really necessary. I mean, it's all about me right? I felt bad, I failed him, I didn't do my part. Hey, What about the dead guys? I just wish something could have been done for feelings shouldn't matter here.

Please think some good thoughts for my friends, they are beyond our physical help, but remembering them gives a type of immortality, and what more can we ask?



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