4 09 2007

This past weekend was Labor Day in the U.S. and was created as a day of rest for the American laborers and is often considered the “end of summer” for most Americans as school is starting back up if it hasn’t already started.

Our family had a good weekend overall.  Friday we went to our local amusement park for a nice afternoon of rides and laughs.  Saturday was the first game of the season for my son’s Smurf football team (I’m a coach).  We won’t talk about the first half of the game, but the second half was competitive, and I got to be on the field to watch my son rip off a 30+ yard run for a touchdown.  Sunday, we went to the next to last game of the season for the Harrisburg Senators, the Washington Nationals AA affiliate, then (luckily) went out and had a nice dinner.  Monday was a day of hiking, picnicing and swimming at one of the National Parks which is close to our house.  Overall an enjoyable weekend.

Then last night hit.  I had gone out to get pizza for us to have for dinner, and when I got back, my wife called me into another room away from the kids.  She told me then that she got a call from a friend that a neighbor of ours had been killed in a sprint car race Sunday night.  He would have been 28 the end of this month – eight years younger than me.

Now, I wasn’t close to this young man.  I had met him a total of three or four times in the three years we have been living in our house.  But his parents are good friends (he lived with his parents), and have been very good to my family, especially my children.  In fact, they have taken my wife and kids along to see their son race numerous times – and that’s why I had written luckily above.  See, our neighbor had been looking for my wife and kids to go with her Sunday night to see him race, but we had been out to dinner, otherwise they probably would have been there to see the accident (details are sketchy but from reports, the car flipped multiple times, was hit by other cars and burst into flames).

So while I mourn this young mans death, and feel horrible for his parents (no parent should have to bury their child), I am incredibly thankful that we had decided to go out for dinner that night.  My kids are seven and five, and while we had to tell them about his death because they knew he had been in an accident, there’s no telling the mental anguish that would have occurred if they would have seen the accident first hand.  My kids are still very innocent – a fact I feel very blessed with and hope to keep going for as long as possible. 

So parents, if your kids are around, hug them.  Cherish the time you spend with them – whether it’s good times or bad.  You never know when that time will be taken away from you.  Each moment you spend with them is a moment you’ll never get again, so make the most of it.

So I just want to say to Bill, please rest in peace.  The only comfort I can take from you being taken away so young is that you died doing what you loved more than life itself – racing.  May your soul find peace and happiness in the next life.