06. May 2008 · Comments Off on It Was Just So Right · Categories: Memoir

Today Beautiful Wife, Boyo and I took a long drive up into the mountains to say goodbye to one of our oldest and dearest friends. She has a real name, but for the sake of anonymity, I’ll refer to her by one of her sillier nicknames, Bambi. No…she was never an exotic dancer, she just played one on AF Dormitory White Boards. No…I won’t elaborate on that at this time either. Suffice it to say that she and my wife left me a note one day that got me razzed for weeks after.

Anyway…our friend Bambi passed away a couple of weeks ago. We’d known her almost 20 years. Now, I don’t have to tell you military folks how rare and wonderful it is to have a friend who stays in touch with you when you leave. I mean everyone SAYS they’re going to stay in touch and you might get an occaisional Christmas card, but you know, out of sight, out of mind. Bambi wouldn’t put up with that. She stayed in touch. From me in Korea, to us in Germany, Hawaii, Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming…to us finally coming home last year. Bambi was our friend. She stayed in touch. While I was in Korea, she let Beautiful Wife crash at her place when she got too lonely missing me. Whenever we came home, she “borrowed” Boyo to go to movies, McDonald’s, the dollar store, you name it. I’ve got to say, quite honestly, she was a much better “Aunt” to our son than my sister or my wife’s sisters.

Now she had health problems. I’m not going to go into details, but she was getting better. She’d lost some weight, she found a job that she loved and was able to show up every day she was supposed to. She was happier than we’d seen her in a very long time. She was supposed to come over to watch reality shows and have dinner with Beautiful Wife and Boyo (I still work nights) but she called and said that she wasn’t feeling good, she’d be over the next week.

Her brother found her a few days later. She’d passed in her sleep.

So we went to her funeral today. A very nice ceremony in a small chapel up in the mountains, followed by a shorter graveside service. Bambi’s brother had asked us if we knew what the “The Reggae Version” of “Over the Rainbow” was, because Bambi said that was one of her favorite songs and after a bit of scratching my head I figured out it had to be the Bruddah Iz version of “Over The Rainbow/It’s A Wonderful World.” I burned a copy for the family and they played it at the graveside. If folks hadn’t been crying yet, the tears were fully flowing now. The kids and some grownups were also blowing bubbles (per Bambi’s request) through their tears and the scene was kind of silly-sad and surreal. Just like Bambi would have wanted it. We completely forgot how Bruddah Iz closes that song. He sort of does a Hawaiin scat at the end. Sort of silly, kind of whacky. Me and Beautiful Wife got the giggles. So did a couple of other folks though they covered it better than we did. Bambi loved that part of the song, did a silly lil dance to the “Hoo hah, coo coo cha chuwhaw.” and that’s all we could picture in our heads. She got us…one last time…just like a good friend should.

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