Friday, August 13, 2010

Missing Bill

It has been over a week since my college friend, Bill, passed away.  He was just 46.  Left behind a wife and four kids.  Aortic dissection, they said.  All I know is that one minute he was here with us and the next he was gone.  Actually that is not exactly the way it happened, but it seems that way. 

I knew Bill in high school, but it was those first years in college that we became friends. Everything I did, I did with a core group of friends that included Bill.  We all watched Magnum PI and Simon and Simon on Thursday nights.  We watched M*A*S*H after the late news.  Bill harassed me to no end about going home from college on the weekends to see my mom.  Once in a while he would win, and we would stay in town.  He was always sure we were out partying with him if we stayed.  He wanted everyone to have a good time.  We attended many football games together.  I can remember painting a sheet in his garage one Friday evening and watching him carry it around the stadium the next day.  It was a game against Notre Dame and the sheet said something about God and the ten commandments, and of course something about beating Notre Dame.  I can remember following his little gold Honda to Birmingham to football games.  His was the only car I ever saw that was dressed up to look like an elephant!  That was Bill.       

After college the get togethers were less frequent.  We lived only about 20 minutes away from each other, but you know how that goes.  Everyone gets a job and gets wrapped up in the day to day stuff.  We were at his wedding in 1990 and he was in ours in 1992.  Well......until the bachelor party hangover required him to have a seat in the nearest pew.  He gave me grief for months about scheduling my wedding day on an Alabama football game day-Alabama vs Southern Mississippi, I think.  I was actually surprised I had not thought of that, but he could not believe that I had forgotten to consider that in my wedding plans.  Some friends were angry with him for thinking like that, but I wasn't offended.  That was Bill.

In the mid 90s, Bill became a Dad for the first of four times.  Mike and I packed up our household and moved to Texas, and our family started not too long after that.  Needless to say, there were even fewer times that we connected in those years.  Our little college group of friends started turning 40.  We were in contact with friends as they started planning ways to embarrass each other at "Over The Hill" parties.  Mike and I were in Minnesota, so we could only listen to the funny stories after the parties were over.  Wish we could have been there to celebrate with them.  Sounds like they went all out for Bill's big day!  A big party for a guy who loved to have a good time.  That was Bill.

In 2004 we moved to Florida.  Finally we were in a place where people would actually come visit, and our kids were getting old enough to actually travel around.  After many long years of not seeing each other, Bill came to Florida with his family twice.It was great to reconnect again.  He also came down with "the guys" for a long weekend of deep sea fishing.  My  kids still talk about how high "Mr. Bill" could splash water when he did a jack knife jump into the pool!!  You could always count on him to be the big kid!  That was Bill.  

Bill decided to organize a regular get together with the old college buds in Alabama.  He named the annual reunion the Redneck Regatta.  For two years in a row we packed up the family and headed to Alabama for a few days on Lake Guntersville.  What wonderful times we had hanging out together.  It was really neat to see our kids form friendships with our friends' kids, and for them to get to know our old friends.  The girls LOVED those trips because they got to hang out with Bill's kids and got to tube behind Bill's boat.  At one point during the last visit, all the kids ended up sitting on one of the boats.  When Bill noticed that they were all out there together, he got the jet ski and started spraying the kids on the boat.  The kids loved it.........that was Bill.

As Facebook gained popularity, Bill became a part of my everyday life again.  It was always fun to read his status and banter back and forth with him about anything and everything.  Our core group of college friends were together again and it was a lot of fun.  One of Bill's last posts was, "Come on feel the noise..."  He would throw a line from a song out there, and everyone would try to come up with the next line.  There won't be anymore of those games on Facebook.  There won't be anymore commentary between Bill and his fellow political enthusiasts.  There won't be Redneck Regattas with EVERYONE there.  There won't be anyone to splash water up to the top of the pool enclosure.  There won't be anyone to spray the kids with the jet ski.  There won't be anyone to help his wife raise those four kids.  Bill, we miss you terribly.  It was fun while it lasted.          


  1. Oh Tracy, I am so sorry for your loss. Old friendships are so special, and your description of Bill makes me feel as if he was my friend also.


  2. Thank you for sharing. That was beautiful.

    Susanne May Lovvorn

  3. Sorry to hear about your friend Bill passing away. Sounds like he was a great guy.