If you didn’t know Andrew, please read anyway. He’s part of the warp and weft of the Ale House. And so much more.
An Ale House regular has left us. His story needs telling. Again and again. By us all.
Selfishly, I wonder how I am supposed to proceed. Without my buddy.
At the same time I want to look back to see what I could have done differently.
I’ve never had a close friend die before. My first thought was “Can’t wait to see him again.” We gotta get a second chance at this, right?
Well, maybe there is a better question for me, us. Perhaps the question is “What would Andrew do?”
But first, more about him.
He would text me with the Notre Dame score. That’s my team, not his. He would send me articles about my brewery. He knew my stuff as well, and sometimes better, than me. There was a theme to his repartee with me and it was me. I’m sure you know what I mean.
People disagree about whose idea it was to race silly, be-wheeled chairs down West St. In my universe it was Andrew. And if somebody else had the idea they don’t anymore. He made it happen. He sparked the imagination of thousands of Gardnerites.
I never really understood the meaning of infinity until recently when I began to ponder and learn about his volunteerism and chairmanships and board ships and all his other ships. I get infinity now.
This guy, to whom life and community and camaraderie meant so much. Where’d he go? Why’d he go? Selfishly, I wonder “What did I do wrong?”
He had one name: Andrew. Him and Cher.
He got me out of bed and out of my house. Made me engage. Why couldn’t I do that for him?
Now we are saddled with a new responsibility. Maybe. To continue what Andrew began. He wanted to build a city and a community. He engaged in every way he could. He checked all the boxes. Not sure why he left with so much more to do. It’s our job now. Always was. He wasn’t supposed to be alone in this, but somehow I think he was.
Selfishly, I want to do something for him. Keep him alive. Make his dream – to grow a community – come true. We can imitate him. It would take positive energy. Non stop smiles. Respect for all. Kind words all around. Boundless resolve. Corny French Canadian jokes. Endless puns. Stupid little baby chickens called Peeps. Relentless optimism. And a kick-ass Chair Luge.
Has anyone ever met anyone who had a bad word about Andrew? Mug #11 unwittingly set us an example, that we, unwittingly or not, admired. It’s up to us whether or not we will take up his unfinished mission.
Something quite wonderful, and also painful, happens at times like this, when someone passes. We all wake up a little, the sleep falls from our eyes, and, for a time, we see things as they are. And as they were. We can use this.
I’m not saying goodbye.