Really surprised I hadn't done this one yet, but here we are.
A lot of you know that I had a very good friend growing up. His name was Mark Whittier. He was funny, and mostly kind, and sarcastic, and all around a really nice guy.
I believe it was August 31, 1995 that was the last time I spoke with Mark. I had lost touch with him, and had just recently found him. Which is good, because I was getting married in a couple of weeks and really wanted to make sure he was not only there, but a part of the wedding (he was going to do a reading). He asked me to point him to campgrounds in the Rochester, NY area - I, of course, made sure he knew he was staying with me as much as he could.
We talked about music - his favorite artists, Hall & Oates, for sure, and others. We talked about some experiences we had over the years prior. He talked about having a flu that he was having trouble shaking, but he thought he would be OK for my wedding. It was a great conversation, a natural conversation.
Those who know Mark know that he passed on September 14th, 1995. So I am really thankful I had that conversation with him when I did. I found out September 15th, at my rehearsal dinner - I had gotten word that he was ill and in the hospital previously, so I did find an excellent friend to take his place. Dan Deyell, thank you - that he had passed away. And on September 16th, I was married. Mark pretty much had the only acceptable excuse not to show up. In all seriousness, he was missed by me and by others that day. And we paid tribute during the ceremony, remembering him.
And so it seems appropriate to me today that I post some Hall and Oates. Perhaps their most iconic song, but, really, that's not the point today. Still, great tune.
If you want to read more about the great young man that Mark was, and how he passed, you can check that out here. And please, consider giving to the Wilson Disease Association - the disease that took him from us far, far, far too soon - in Mark's name.