Thursday, April 3, 2014

Charles & Phil

I haven't posted anything here for about a year and a half. It's not that I didn't have good intentions, or that I didn't have anything to say.

I found out in January of 2013 that my pal Charles died. I wanted to note his passing before I posted anything else here. The problem was that I was just tired of having friends die, and I kept putting it off.

I was just about ready to post a note about Charlie, when I found out that my friend Phil had died. Wind knocked out of my sails again.

But here we are at a new baseball season, and I want to write again. Opening Day is also a time for new starts, so here goes:

Charlie was quite the character. I worked with him as a Coors Field usher, and we became friends. Charles - as many of us called him - had a quick wit and a twinkle in his eye. I was always amazed how smooth he was with the ladies, most of whom were a quarter of his age. He charmed everyone he met.

One afternoon at the ballpark, a gust of wind came up and blew one of the huge trash barrels that line the concourse right into Sir Charles. Charles wasn't very big, and it knocked him down. I saw him over near the first aid station, but was unaware of his mishap.

Charles was a bit banged up, but he survived to laugh about it. I would often kid him - "I heard you got beat up by a wastebasket," and we'd share a laugh.

Charles wasn't a spring chicken, and over the last few years of his life, he'd lost a step or two. So, his death wasn't that much of a surprise, but it was still sad. He was one of a kind.

Charlie, his monkey, and me.

I also worked with Phil, and became friends with him as well. He had a quick wit, too, and was good-naturedly sarcastic. We usually traded barbs with each other whenever we got together, and it was great fun.

One thing that I'll always remember and appreciate Phil for happened at a week-day afternoon game years ago. I was still working as an usher, but I attended that game with a ticket. I had a sweet, vintage Sony radio with me that I listened to the game on that day. In the hubbub after the final out, I somehow neglected to pack out my radio. It wasn't till the next day when he asked me if it was mine that I realized I'd left it at my seat. He'd seen it and rescued it, and tucked it away for safe keeping.

As he was ready to admit, he was just doing his job. Still, he covered my ass for doing something out of character and pretty dumb. As a token of my appreciation, I bought him an usher food voucher. I pretty much had to twist his arm to accept it.

Phil died late in the 2013 season. He didn't work every game, so it wasn't unusual for him not to be there, so I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. It turns out he'd been pretty sick for a long time, but I knew nothing of it. He didn't bring it up, and he remained the same ol' Phil every time we met.

I found out he'd died after his funeral service. I didn't know he was sick, I didn't know he was gone, and I missed my chance to pay my respects.

Phil and Me

So, farewell, old friends. I'm sorry this is long overdue. My life is better for knowing both of you.

© 2014 Douglas T. Dinsmoor


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