Friday, August 10, 2012

A Letter To My Friend, by Dave Wilson

As most of you know, my brother Tom passed away on Saturday, August 4, after a ten month battle with pancreatic cancer.  At some point I want to post a tribute to Tom, but he impacted my life in so many ways over my 52 years that's it's really hard to sum that up.

In the meantime, I'd like to post a letter that our dear friend Dave Wilson wrote to Tom the evening after his death.  Tom and Dave were best friends in the truest sense of the word, and as you can see in Dave's letter, Tom has left a very big hole in all of us--myself, his daughter Kelly, and the love of his life, his wife Becky...but none any bigger than that of his best friend Davie.

Until I can get my post done, Dave gave me permission to share this amazing and personal tribute to our pal and brother, Tommie Boy Hoover:

Left to right, Greg Hoover, Tom Hoover and Dave Wilson.

August 4, 2012

Tommie boy,

Thought I’d let you know the world changed a bit today.  It might look the same……., but it’s really not.   It has diminished, like a breeze lessening against one’s face.

You were the best friend I ever had.  I’m not sure how many days we saw each other over the past 35 years…  three thousand?  four thousand?  I don’t know, but I treasured every one, and looked forward to the next.

You are a difficult guy to describe…  very complex….  lots of black and white, but even more gray.  You were one of the most intelligent people I have ever met, but more notable to me was your perception.  Countless times you would ask me a question that came from out of the blue.  And this question invariably would involve some troubling aspect of my life at that time.  I believe that you had a Rosetta stone on my thoughts, for which I am grateful.

Speaking of intelligence, I did see you do a lot of smart things (and some dumb ones), but the best thing you ever did was to marry that Becky girl.  You and I had so many good times together, so many doubled over belly laughs with tears in the eyes, yet… you were never even close to being the person that you became after falling in love with her.  I don’t think any of your friends would disagree even though you (ahem…) “could have done better”.  If someone were to ask me what was the second smartest thing you ever did in your life…  I would say; “I don’t know”.

That you were a loving father is evident by your daughter.  People like Kelly rarely grace this world and never by accident.   I know being a single parent and owning your own business couldn’t have been easy.   And as a brother?  Greg is the last guy that needs help from me with words, but c’mon, nobody has ever had a better brother, or deserved one more.  I won’t continue with names, it would go on too long.  Anyway, it isn’t necessary because you made all of us feel so special, like each of us were the most important person in your life.  And maybe we were.

My most poignant moment with you that comes immediately to mind was the day driving to Boone Valley, when I was telling you about the last words I had with my father.  I had to pull over to the side of the road to wipe my tears, and when I looked over at you, you were crying just as hard as I had been.

I also claim some responsibility for what I think was your favorite nickname, although Kate is the one who really came up with it.  After you moved my company out of the valley, the very night the levee broke in ‘93, she nicknamed you Clarence; after the angel that pulled Jimmy Stewart out of the water in “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  Truthfully, you saved me more times than that.

Our friendship went far beyond being able to pick out a single trait I liked best.  But one of the things I admired was your ability to avoid the rote.  I never heard you respond to a question with the standard answer or the common answer.  You always introduced some new angle which let the person you were speaking with know you were engaged in the conversation, and had actually considered their words.  Because of that, people were quick to ask your opinion and trust it.

And one more thing I loved was your irreverence, which was really your reverence.  As if you knew that without challenge, things could be taken for granted, something you never did.  Remember when we would always tell people that our friendship was “nothing special”?   Some people looked puzzled by this observation, but the informed mind knows that when nothing is special, it’s the same as saying everything is special.  

Oh it’s useless to go down the road with what I admired, everyone who knew you admired it too.  You never held back from anyone. 

So anyway, wherever you are, I hope you are well.  I’m really, really going to miss you.

Go ahead and make that tee time, but don’t blink your eyes first.  We always talked about how fast time moves.  It won’t be long before we’ll meet up.   And just like every time before this, I look forward to it.

See ya around……, fella.

Your friend,

Davie boy