Pounds: To the burnWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Thanksgiving I lost my dear childhood friend Chuck Wilson. He died suddenly with no warning. My sister contacted me, telling me to come see him while he was in the hospital. I boarded a plane to New Jersey but arrived too late. The same thing happened to me when my father passed; I was too late to say goodbye. Chuck’s passing hit me just as hard and when I went back for the funeral I was asked to say a few words. That was the most difficult public speaking appearance I have ever made.
After the service I got to spend some quality time with Chuck’s son Kyle. He is 25 years old, as is my daughter Katy. We spoke of the old times and shared some laughs and some tears. While there I told Kyle of my dream golf trip to the Old Course at St. Andrews that would be in June. It was Mark Beier’s (voice of the Rockets) 60th birthday and he invited me, Ed Beczynski and Bill Kline to go to Scotland to play at “the home of golf.” Kyle and I both knew how much Chuck had wanted to play the Old Course. Chuck’s family was Scottish and that was always a dream for him. So Kyle and I decided we would team up and make that happen.
Chuck was cremated. Kyle saved some ashes for me to scatter in Scotland. It is one thing to say you are going to do something like this, but the logistics are altogether more difficult. Kyle arranged to have a small container of Chuck’s ashes arrive at St. Andrews.
I wanted to pour the ashes into the Swilcan Burn off of the world-famous Swilcan Bridge. I didn’t think it would be easy. I figured if I wanted to do the same thing on the 18th hole of Inverness that I would be stopped and turned away. I wanted to do it before we played (I didn’t want to burden the caddies), so we headed to the course the first day we were in town.
As we approached those hallowed grounds, we found it to be an open park with people just milling around the course and on it. There was even a street that ran right through the 1st and 18th fairways. I had to wait for a couple of foursomes to pass but then I had a break long enough to rest my old friend on the burn. I stood on the bridge and released Chuck’s ashes to the wind, returning him to the Earth. It was a quiet and somber moment. He was my best friend and he was gone. But I felt good that I was able to do that for him and his family.
Saying goodbye to Chuck in the midst of a life celebration for another dear friend made me stop to appreciate the great circle of life and the uncharted courses on which all of us travel.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at email@example.com.