Tuesday, May 26, 2009

There is one less smile on earth...

When I was in high school, life wasn't always easy. I was picked on, considered a nerd by many, not the most popular person, either. But I persevered and did what I wanted. I didn't follow the norm or try to fit in with one group...I did many things, and participated in a lot of different activities at school.

I was involved in sports (yeah, me...the BAND GEEK...was also sporty!!!). I played soccer, skiied in the winter, and ran track in the spring (100 and 300 meter hurdles and 100 meter sprint). It was through track and field that I got to know a wonderful guy.

His name was Pat Daley. He was one year ahead of me in school. Pat was one of three (or possibly 4, but THREE that stood out) redheads in our school, the epitome of a redhead with tons of freckles everywhere. But he wore them with pride, and loved being unique. He was a tall athletic guy, one who participated in as many sports as he could, and he always excelled. In fact, he was voted the most athletic guy in his senior class. He was a smart guy too. He was a popular guy...voted most popular as well.

Well, when I ran track, I was a bit odd for the events...you know, hurdlers should be tall and lean...and I wasn't. I'm short...and I had an odd running gait (needed to get over the hurdles). But my size meant I was fast (lower to the ground and all that). And so I ran track. And got to know Pat. He ALWAYS had a smile on his face...always. He never had bad things to say about anyone, and he talked to everyone and treated everyone fairly. He was a genuinely all-around great guy. Getting to know him meant more laughs and smiles, an extra hello on rotten days, and someone cheering me on when I was running.

Of course, school ends, people graduate, move away, and life goes on. I'd run into Pat about 7 years ago, in Virginia Beach; purely by accident. He worked at Hannaford Brothers, as did my cousin. I'd gone there to see her and ran into him. And we talked as though there hadn't been a gap of nearly 20 years since we'd last seen each other. Pat was just that kind of guy. We moved from Virginia Beach, and of course, I didn't keep in touch with Pat.

But then came Facebook. Pat was on my facebook list. I discovered that he lived in SC, and was excited to know that a high school friend was relatively close to me...I'd hoped to visit him this summer when I took the kids to Myrtle Beach. We talked about getting a mini "Madtown" (Madawaska is known as Madtown) reunion of several folks that lived in the general area.

But it was not to be. On the 11th of May, Pat suffered a heart attack and a brain bleed. He had surgery to repair the bleed, and was in a coma. For a short while, it appeared he was doing better. Messages were flying around Facebook, people all over were raising prayers to God to heal this man. His sister Deb, and sister-in-law, Carla kept us posted. Pat's youngest brother, Dan (Carla's husband) was down at his side in Myrtle Beach. One of our classmates, Chris, took time out of a business trip, to go visit Pat in the hospital. I'm sure many others sent cards, and I know that even those who don't normally pray raised prayers for Pat.

On Friday, Pat went home to be with his Maker. He was 43 years old, and had lived his life to the fullest. He didn't stay in a small corner of the world, rather, he cornered the entire world as he travelled around it. He had a joy for life, and made sure he made the most of it.

Pat, you will truly be missed here on earth. One less smile. But your smile will be in my heart.

Patrick Daley


The Mrs. said...

So sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. His family will be in my thoughts.

saintseester said...

I am very sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. He sounds like a wonderful person to have known.

Jessica said...

I just came across this post today. So sorry to hear about your friend.

Bob-kat said...

So sorry about the loss of such an old friend. He was obviously a special person.