Instead, I am focusing on the fact that today is the 14th which means the big 5-0 is now only 3 months away. Again, my skills at counting and reading the calendar are impressive I know.
As I approach the magic day, I have been reflecting on my life and the people in it. I wonder about those I have lost touch with, and I am glad for those I have reconnected with, and those that I am still connected with. I also have been thinking about those I have lost, and today I am thinking about someone I lost who died on VD, 18 years ago.
As we were driving from the beach up to Terranea Resort to have our late Valentine's Day lunch, we drove through Palos Verdes Estates. As we stopped at the first stop sign, with City Hall and the Police Department to the left of us, and the memorial for my friend who was killed to the right, it suddenly hit me that today was the anniversary of my friend Mike Tracy's death and I started to tear up as I saw the flag flying at half staff in his and Vern Vanderpool's honor.
I don't want to get into how they died here, for those who don't know, here's a link to an LA Times story about it. And, here's a link to his tribute page on the Officer Down Memorial site showing him with the big smile he always greeted me with.
At the time of his death, we weren't as close as we used to be because I was no longer working for the City of Palos Verdes Estates. That's what seems to happen in life, you lose touch with friends and don't see them as often as you used to. We would have lunch once in awhile and catch up and I had talked to him in January to tell him about my upcoming wedding in October, and told him I was inviting him and we were working on scheduling a lunch.
When I got home tonight and I got on the computer, I decided to look up his memorial page and that's when I noticed his age when he died...he was 50. That really blew me away and then so many things came back to me. Especially how he always called me "kid." When we met I was 24 years old, and he was 43, younger than I am now, but he always seemed so much older to me, of course everyone did when I was 24.
I was in grad. school and was working as an intern for the City Manager and my first assignment was to work on upgrading the phone system at City Hall and the Police Department. My boss sent me down to the PD to see the "guy in charge of it for their department." "The guy" was him and from the time I came into his office, he started giving me a hard time for at least 10 minutes and then said, "How old are you? You look like you are 15. You need to get used to dealing with guys like me, they sent you down here unprotected, let's see if you can take care of yourself or am I going to have to teach you how."
I told him, "I can and I am not intimidated by you. I don't have all day to wait around for you, so either you can work with me to get the phone system you want, or, you will just get what I pick out."
He started laughing and said, "kid, we are going to get along great, come on I will buy you lunch." And, he was right, we did get along great. I miss you Tracy but will always be grateful for the time we had and our friendship. I still smile when I think of you and how you always made me laugh. Here's looking at you "kid."
|Palos Verdes Estates Police Memorial|