That Was Dan

~ Written by Jim Lloyd ~

With all the talk of politics (national and local), I thought we’d take a break today and chat about something that’s neither conservative nor liberal, for the working man only or for the rich man only. It affects young and old, rich and poor, men and women, gay, straight, or somewhere in between.

Image courtesy of Liz Detter

A couple of weeks ago, my family suddenly and unexpectedly lost a very close friend. Bang. He is no more. Now, there are just about as many beliefs as to where he now is as people on planet earth…but suffice it to say, it ain’t here. He was my wife’s brother’s best friend. But he was a best friend of our whole family. He was a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, as we all (the family) are. The aerie is empty without him.

He had a permanent pluckish grin, like a bad little kid planning some new devilish deed. And he had a very big heart made of solid gold. He ate too much. And it was all the wrong stuff. He enjoyed a cocktail, whether it was for breakfast, lunch or dinner (or later, sometimes much later.) And that grin was never without a cigarette.

So what’s the surprise you ask? With all that, how did he live so long? I guess human nature being what it is, you just don’t think the consequences will ever occur to a close friend. He was fifty years old. His daughter is expecting a baby any minute. So his wife was staying down in Margate (Ft. Lauderdale area) with her for the weekend. It was Friday night. Dan had just gotten off work. He dropped by the Eagles in Jupiter for a quick visit. Then by his dad’s in Stuart (same reason.) Then on the way from Stuart to Margate, out on Indiantown Road and Beeline Highway, his life ended instantly with a massive heart attack. The truck (his beloved F 150 Ford, just paid off) continued without his direction for a couple of seconds, then left the road, crashed and rolled.

And just like that, the world is quite a few smiles shyer. My favorite bit was to ask him (when he had his wallet out and some cash was showing) if he had that twenty he owed me. The first time he began a repayment and then recognized the put-on. From then on, often when asked, he would hold out a twenty (avoiding eye contact) knowing it would not be taken. Once, a couple he casually knew had ordered breakfast at a place which did not accept credit or debit cards. They were becoming more perplexed and embarrassed by the minute, when in strolled Dan. He quickly became aware of the situation, and instantly paid their bill, making no arrangement for repayment.

That was Dan. His memorial service was a full house. He would have loved that. As an avid golfer, he probably would have approached the center of the room with his hand cupping his mouth, and asked in a very sincere tone if he could just play through. You sure can Dan. And rest in peace.