Monday, April 07, 2008

He was only 44 years old....

I was playing golf on Saturday and when I got to the 7th hole I was 1 under par. I had just birdied two holes in a row with a 60-ft chip-in and a 25-foot putt. I was shooting the lowest score for 9 holes in my life. Then, on the 7th hole I lost 3 balls and shot +5.

As I stood there on the green, frustrated beyond belief at having monumentally choked, I looked around. It was a nice day with a slight breeze and the birds were chirping. I was so mad at myself for blowing a rare opportunity. So mad that I wouldn't get to spend the rest of the day in a great mood because I shot so well. It's nice to have a little pick-me-up like that. Then it hit me: Hank Murphy is dead.

Hank and I worked together at ABC Radio in the 90's. Hank was part-time because he had a good career in telecomunications but just couldn't stay away from radio. You see that a lot, guys with good jobs who will work on Christmas just to stay on the mic.

He was a conservative and we used to argue politics. We played golf a few times and for years I used a divot tool that I won from him in a friendly wager. One time he got into an argument with a group behind us that was hitting into us. For a second I actually thought it would come to blows and at one point Hank had his phone out threatening to call the police. It was pretty funny in retrospect.

We used to call him a "mover and a shaker." He always seemed to be in a hurry... always had something to do, somewhere to go. I liked him. He was always up for a good conversation and he never seemed to hold a grudge if you didn't agree with him (which is important if you are talking to me). After I moved to Tampa we kept in touch because I built a website for him. It was nothing but pictures of his little girl and it wasn't until my first daughter arrived that I understood why he took so many. Bobbi met him once when he was on a business trip to Orlando and drove down to visit us for the evening.

He got cancer a few years ago and it finally took him last week.

I stood on that green and I looked around and thought about my old friend Hank and how much I wished he could be there with me. We'd have a lot to talk about, him and me. But now he's gone and lately I can't look at my own girls without thinking about his daughter, just two years older than Samantha. I guess that's Hank's legacy to me. Maybe I'll stop and look around a little more. Maybe I'll hug a little longer. I just wish he could have taught me that lesson without such a high price.


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