There is a Friend

Proverbs 18:24


I had in mind to write a fun and happy post this week.  As often happens, life (and death) came crashing into my plans.  This morning, I received word that my dear friend of 26 years, Terry, had been killed in a motorcycle accident.  He had attended his weekly photography class in Amarillo, and on the way home his motorcycle was hit by a car.  The news, given me by his precious wife, was a gut-punch. We were planning to take our annual ride just two weeks from now. Our plans, our frail human plans, are nothing more than scribbles on a calendar.

I met Terry in spring of 1992.  He had just been hired as the Senior Chaplain at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch, and I had been hired as the Director of Christian Education.  My first impression of Terry was how enthusiastic he was.  He loved life and lived life with gusto.  My second impression of Terry was how short he was.  What he lacked in stature, he more than made up for in personality. For the most part, we got along marvelously. We shared the same love for humor, the love for theological banter, and the same love for simply having fun.  Humor was highly prized by both of us, and he could carry out a practical joke flawlessly.

Terry had been in the Navy during Viet Nam, and was serving as a U.S. Army Reserve Chaplain.  After serving three tours of duty in Iraq, he ultimately achieved the rank of Lt. Colonel and was awarded a Bronze Star. He was always a chaplain first, then an officer. I have met several of the men who served under him, and they all loved him as I did, as a brother.  Terry was like that.  He showed himself friendly, to everyone. He was just as comfortable with little old blue-haired ladies as he was with the Bandidos motorcycle club.

Terry loved his family.  He and his beautiful wife, Janiece, walked with our family through the good, the bad, and the ugly of life.  Our children played together. My son took his first steps in Terry’s office.  His daughter babysat our son.  Terry loved to cook for his wife, go camping with his kids, and road-trip the family to Oregon, where Janiece grew up.  He cooked and cleaned for her too, and often.

We have ridden thousands of miles together, smoked thousands of cigars, taken thousands of photographs, told thousands of jokes, laughed thousands of times, and cried thousands of tears.

Terry was sometimes a bull-rider, sometimes a bike-rider, sometimes a pastor, sometimes a painter, sometimes a sailor, and sometimes a singer.

The one thing, though, that Terry always was, he was my friend.  I shall miss you, brother.

Published in: on February 27, 2018 at 2:33 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. He truly was a neat guy! So sorry for y’alls loss! We, the Atwoods of Vega, will be praying for all family and friends affected by this tragedy! I am so sorry!

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