“You just never know”

SRV-Austin,-TxStevie Ray Vaughn, Austin, Texas © Steven Willard

Just a few blocks from the Texas state capital building is this statue of Stevie Ray Vaughn, a singer/songwriter/musician I hold in high regard who died in 1990. The sad irony of this death was that it came after he had apparently won his own war on drugs and substance abuse. He was engaged to be married, his music was well received, and to all outward appearances he was enjoying the best years of his life when the helicopter in which he was riding went down. You just never know.

I had gone to Austin to spend some time with my good friend Dave Woodruff*. He had just undergone surgery to remove a brain tumor and although he was feeling pretty good at the time I don’t think anyone who has walked that close to the edge is ever quite the same. We just wanted to be together because you just never know.

Dave and I are two of three good friend who met fifty years ago in high school. The third is Ray. We were all photographers on the yearbook staff, and have been friends ever since. Ray is doing battle with leukemia. He’s had what appears to be a successful bone marrow transplant and is feeling pretty good these days, but you just never know.

I couldn’t be with Ray during the transplant as I would have wished because I was having my own tussle with cancer. They cut it out and a couple of years later things are looking promising, but you just never know.

What I do know is that Ray, Dave an I never spoke a harsh word to one another, and even if we couldn’t be there for one another, we were always there for one another.

Stevie Ray never saw it coming, neither did we. So here is my suggestion for a  New Year’s resolution; the next time you get the opportunity to put your arms around your friends and tell them you love them do it, ’cause you just never know.

*Woody died in June. You can read more about him in the post “Farewell Woody”.

Cannon G10, processed in Photoshop CS4


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