Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Friends in low places

I have never been a bar hopper. Oh, I have frequented bars many times in my adult years. However, spending night after night in a bar has never been something I have done.

Last week that changed when I spent three nights in a row in the same establishment while planning the memorial services for my coach who recently passed away. In doing so, I found peace in knowing that my friend was not as alone as I thought he was in the last year.

I found a place that people from all walks of life would go and find family that I never knew existed. I must say, it was a beautiful discovery.

These people don't go to the bar to simply drink. They go because it is the one place that they know that they can be with people who won't judge and will allow them to be the real person that they are.

Is there really anything more that people want in life?

Alcohol has been something that I have always feared. Growing up with a mother who is alcoholic and used it as a vehicle to deal with my father can do that to a child. However, I found that spending time with a diverse crowd in a bar doesn't have to center around drinking.

My coaching friend was a man that I have no problem saying that I loved. He had no family in our area and I often worried about him when he left work and headed home.

Make no mistake, he had his vices. In our own way, we all do. How else can we deal with the daily strife's without having some outlet?

For Bill, his outlet was leaving work and having a few drinks while hanging out with friends. I used to give him shit for spending so much time in a bar and tried to convince him to stop going in there so much.

However, after spending so much time in there last week, I am so grateful to the bar employees and its' patrons for the love they gave Bill. They really did care for him and grieved for his loss as much as I have over the last two weeks.

My friend might have lived in a trailer, had no car, and had no one waiting at home for him. But, he did have people who loved him, cared for him, and who looked out for him. Lots of people. More people that I could have ever imagined.

This was a real eye-opener for me. It showed me that it really doesn't matter what you have in life, what you do in life, or where you might want to go in life. What matters is the people you have in your life.

In its simplest terms, life is about the relationships you have built with people. If you can leave this world having touched and been touched by as many people that my friend Bill did, than you have had a successful life.

What more can you ask for?


  1. I still have no computer and no way to comment on your posts. Thank you for the kind words in regards to the loss of my friend. It helped a lot! Hope to be able to get a new computer soon.

  2. I think the song pretty much sums it up. It's dorky but it's the kind of song I hope that might reflect on my life someday.
    That's what we'd all like, to be somewhere they know our name, know us.

  3. Hope your doin cool... sorry for your loss.. we are only alive as long as we are remembered... so make sure those who remember you, remember you well... take care.. Abz...x

  4. Sorry about your friend. Hope you're coping well.
    It's quite unfortunate that not many people understand and appreciate the true value of the people in their lives until some life-altering event occurs. Atleast, that's what happened with me.

  5. I bar tended for years (in fact that is how I met my hubby. I knew more about our regular patrons then I did about most of my friends and definitely more then my immediate family! People talk when they are in bars - with or without the alcohol. Most people that frequent often ARE there for the company, not the alcohol... It was one of the best jobs I had because I too love to talk and listen. Plus, hey, when you are in college it is a party every night :) that you get paid to be at.

  6. So sorry to hear of your loss, Coach.

    I just lost my father, two weeks ago...so I truly do relate.

    In my prayers and thoughts,

  7. I'm sorry you're having to go through all this but I'm glad you've found some solace in a friendly environment.

    When I'm in London, I spend a lot of time in the neighborhood pub with my friends. There's a lot of beer consumed (duh) but we go also for the atmosphere and the connections. I love it and miss it when I come home, as there is nothing like that here in Pigsknuckle.

    Thinking of you always... speak soon... xo

  8. It's interesting how when you actually walk in someones shoes you can then really see. I am glad your eyes were opened to why he did what he did.

  9. What a great post...I am glad you found some insight during your difficult loss! We miss you...Do we need to take up a collection to get you a new computer? We will! :)

  10. It sounds like he had a great friend in you. Sorry for your loss.

  11. My condolences on your loss..
    And my congratulations on your discovery..
    It's funny, the really important things you learn about people after they're gone.. :)

  12. Glad to see you back...so sorry for the loss of your friend...gratified to hear about the friendship and love in your his life.

  13. Very true. I think too many people these days measure success by wealth and possessions rather than the relationships they build, which in my opinion, are far more important.

  14. Sorry for the loss of your friend, but glad you discovered his "family".

  15. Missing you in the Blogosphere. Hurry back.

    Sorry about your loss.

  16. I was singing the theme to Cheers in my head while reading this and then saw that you posted the video. Perfect!

    And no computer---- can you live like that?!!! Hurry back! :)