Wednesday, July 28, 2010

For Scot Michael Fritz...

* * *

On Sunday we were told the news that Scot had passed away the day before. Holly and I were in shock. She had just seen him a few days earlier.

It has been months since I last saw Scot. I ran into him at Goodwill one night. I hadn't noticed him there... and was looking at some racks of shirts when suddenly I heard from behind me a very familiar voice calling out "Hey Buddy!".

In the 15-plus years I've known him, that was how he ALWAYS greeted me. Even if many months had passed since the last time I had seen him... it was always "Hey Buddy!" in that distinct Scot voice. For some reason I always found that very comforting. I'm sure he greeted others the same way... it wasn't something unique to me - but there was still something very comforting about hearing him say it.

Over 15 years. Actually... I think it might even be more than that. I seem to remember first meeting him at Seattle Espresso... but I didn't begin to really get to know him until Holly and I started dating in '96.

At one point in time we were very close. We'd spend hours together talking about everything from religion to politics to creativity. When Holly and I started Moonlight Circle, Scot was one of the original members. I was a stay-at-home dad at that point... and there were many days when he'd come over to my place to hang out. He'd pick me up and drive me around and help me hang up fliers for Moonlight Circle events. He'd entertain my daughter, who at that time was still just a baby, while I got stuff done. We'd drum together. We'd talk... and talk... and talk.

Some days he'd just show up with a surprise lunch. We'd sit eating and talking for hours while my daughter napped. (In fact, it was during such a surprise lunch that Scot introduced me to the wonder that is a Taco Bell Chalupa) At some point Scot would pull out some yarn and start wrapping it around needles, making blankets or whatever... while the conversation continued. (Many of Scot's friends were blessed with wonderful gifts he made. He made a beautiful blanket for Holly and me... as well as blankets for both of our kids. Unfortunately all of them were lost when we had a fire in 2003).

Scot definitely had a gift for conversation. He had the ability to either make you feel completely calm and comfortable... or get you so worked up in disagreement that you practically wanted to smack him! Needless to say, as a result our friendship had its "highs" and "lows". At times I'd see him almost every day... then something would happen... there'd be a grudge... and we'd not even speak to one another for weeks... or even months... and, at one time - for at least a year.

Then we'd bump into one another someplace... and he'd say "Hey Buddy!"... and next thing I knew we'd be at the Olive Garden having dinner together.

Over the last few years I didn't see much of Scot. It seemed as if we just went separate directions and lost any level of connection. I admit, I didn't put any effort into changing that... and certainly could have. I guess I just kept waiting for it to take care of itself... for one of those moments when we'd finally "reconnect" and end up going out to dinner.

I knew he wasn't well... but he never wanted to even acknowledge that - at least with me. I'd hear that "this" or "that" had happened with him, health-wise... but when I would see him and ask him how he was, he wouldn't even hint at complaining. He'd quickly change the subject... usually to something having to do with the UU... or something one of our mutual friends... or he'd just flip it around to me... about how I was doing. Still... it was obvious... he wasn't doing well. He wasn't comfortable... and it showed.

That's the way it was that last time I saw him... several months ago at Goodwill. He didn't look comfortable. He didn't look as if he was doing well at all. But he was in good spirits. He was cracking jokes. He was smiling. He avoided talking about himself... and quickly changed the subject when asked how he was doing. He wanted to know about us... what we were up to... how things were going. He was amazed at how big the kids had gotten. And then... he was off to continue his shopping. And that was that.

And now he's gone.

There was a time when we were very close... yet at the time of his passing I was far from being amongst his close friends. Still, it hurts. I'm happy with the thought that he is finally free... that he doesn't have to deal with the pains his body forced him to deal with every single day... but when I think about the fact that I'll never hear that voice of his calling out "Hey Buddy!" again... I don't know... it just hurts.

Scot... all I can say is... I understand "why"... I only wish it didn't have to be that way for you!

Be at peace, my friend!

With much love...

- Vin

* * *

No comments: