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life goes on
Last Monday, I'd been at work for a couple of hours when a co-worker came in wondering why the main street through town was blocked off with cop cars everywhere. News travels fast in small burgs, and in no time we learned that there had been a freak accident involving a guy I graduated with thirty umm..three years ago. His house backs up to a giant forest right smack in the middle of town that is bordered by two steep residential streets. While one is paved with quaint brick, the parallel is the main drag from downtown Dyersburg to the land beyond where urban sprawl has grown us to a small city versus a small town. It has always seemed odd to me that this cavern of kudzu still exists. My mother's generation played there, swinging on grapevines and dodging snakes back in the forties. I did the same much later on.

TJ was one of those guys that girls like me could only crush on but never go out with. The popular girls were his dates when dance time came around, yet he never much acted like he was God's gift to females. Nice guy. Only child. He was a year older than me because of that holdin' back thing so he never quite considered himself a member of the "Class of '73", but proudly held his spot with the '72 group. He married like the rest of us and had a daughter, then later divorced and remained single for years. He travelled to work for awhile at a nearby Air Force base, then became an instructor for truck drivers in another nearby town. His house sits halfway up (or down) the steep venue that I travel every day on the way to work. Due at work at 7AM, he went out sometime before that to get into his ride and head out. His fiancee came outside to catch him before he left, and he stepped out of his truck. Who knows what happened next, but it seems that it popped out of gear somehow. Her car was parked in front of his truck and got pushed off into the gully. He was pinned between the truck and the retaining wall as emergency workers labored to save him.

Pallbearers included the two guys who fished the vehicles out of the withered kudzu with their wreckers. In my mind, I might run into him at Hamilton's deli getting his coffee on the way to work tomorrow. We'll exchange howdys and I'll remember how my heart went pitty pat thirty five years ago when he talked to me as a friend. And then we'll go about the business of living and loving and keeping the faith. ^j^
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