Monday, December 22, 2008

20 CENT BUMMER!

July the 4th 1972 my brother Rick and I, my best friend Eddie and his brother Pete, set out for California from Springfield Missouri. I was 17. We were in a 1966 Volkswagen van that had USA curtains, an eight track tape player blaring "Smoke on the water" and crazy guts?!. We all were long hairs, hippies if you will, Ozark hippies, is that an oxymoron?This was a very memorable trip! Along the way we hiked the Grand Canyon and spent the night by the Colorado river. Back in that day you pulled in the parking lot and headed down the trail. Today it's a bunch of rigmarole to go down-ruined by legislation and business. Anyway, why I bring this up is I have contracted a cold. It has made its way to my chest and I know I am sidelined from intensive training. I don't think my marathon training is in jeopardy, though. So I say to this-"20 cent bummer!" This may not be the least bit humorous to you but it was at the time. The van had burned up in Death Valley, another story, we made our way to Los Angeles with the help of a tow truck driver and a Bus. We spent a day at Disneyland! While there Eddie and I noticed a guy venting life's frustration on a pay phone. He was hammering away on it with the receiver yelling "2o cent bummer, 20 cent bummer!" We backed away very slowly, if the loss of 20 cents was that bad what else could this guy do. Anyway, from that time on when something went wrong we'd say "20 cent bummer." I still use this phrase to this very day and people look at me like I'm losing it! Interesting, just 16 months later Eddie was killed in an automobile accident. My two best friends ran a stop sign, yes they were/had been partying at MD's house. I was to meet up with them later that evening so when they didn't show I began searching for them and finally heard the news. Bruce died on the scene but Eddie held on for a week. Eddie was truly the best friend I'd ever had besides my brother Rick, and my Dad. It was a tough loss. I still get very upset if I think about it to long. It is truly difficult to have a real, true friend and that's what Eddie was, a true friend. I remember the funeral. I thought how Eddie had it all going on in his life? His folks were wealthy; business and land owners, he had a beautiful girl friend, he'd gotten a brand new Volkswagen van for graduation. He had his head on straight! Except for that one fatal Wednesday night. I stood there at the grave site without a way to express my loss-not even "20 cent bummer" would do. I can still see Eddie's face-the big old smile-red faced, laughing as we watched the guy beating up the phone. Life goes on- Peace!

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