It has been more than 7 years since the passing of my friend, Earl. I found myself thinking of him earlier today. He was such a nice guy… a great friend… it still hurts knowing I won’t see him again.
I first came to know Earl during my freshman year at Lee High School in Huntsville, Alabama. He was a year ahead of me and we were both in R.O.T.C. together. He was an integral part of a close knit and small group of cadets during our time at Lee. Tall, always smiling, and wearing his heart on his sleeve… he was always a good friend to me. During the summers, we would keep in touch with one another and maybe take in a movie or just hang out.
Our group was close but drifted apart after high school. The comedian of our group was Alvie East. After graduation, he became a mortician and I never saw him again. Raphael Beckman, feisty but loyal, stayed local and has kept in touch over the years. Brett Chafin ended up in Tennessee and now works in the music industry. Earl went off and joined the Army Rangers and would visit when his leave time allowed.
Brett contacted me when Earl passed away. I was devastated. I couldn’t believe the news. Not Earl! Why? What happened? He was only 39 years old! The details of his passing aren’t important. A great loss is not lessened by knowing the details. I was saddened to know his wife and children had lost their husband/father… his parents lost their child… and his siblings had lost their brother.
I called Earl’s folks. I spoke with his father for quite a while. I know my voice broke several times during the conversation. If it was that hard for me, I couldn’t imagine the pain his family must’ve felt. I shared a few stories with his father, Earl Sr., but none seemed to capture the depth his friendship had meant to me over the years. Some friendships are just that way… words simply cannot do it justice.
Earl June Green, Jr. 28 August 1968 – 7 May 2008
I miss my friend.