Have you ever had something you should have paid more attention to until it was too late? It was always there so you just didn’t give it as much attention as you should have. I mean, you knew it was there, you enjoyed it,but just never thought it was going anywhere. 

I was knocked off my feet last week by an unexpected tragedy in our family. My Brother in Law was found on his living room floor, gone at the age of 45! Now I’m missing something that I loved and should have payed more attention to. Let me tell you a little about my Brother in Law, “BIL” for the purposes of this blog.

Mark was a bigger than life person, always the center of attention at any occasion. You know the type, have fun will carry. You had a party, invite Mark and you were sure to have notices the next day. Of course the first time we met things weren’t so cozy. I was dating his only sister, his only sibling. The one person in life that he loved beyond all others and the only person in life he was afraid of disappointing. So we hit it off 21 years ago much like Israel and Palestine. But that was as it should be I suppose. It was not so long that we came to understand one another and because his Sister’s happiness was paramount he accepted the fact I was going to be around a while. So 21 years of holidays later he is gone. Funny it doesn’t sound right when I say it, but that’s the point, it never will.

We had his service and although I hate the saying, it was nice, it was in keeping with all needed to say goodbye. Mark was blessed with hundreds of friends, many from childhood, that attended the service. A testament to his abilities as a leader and great communicator. As one of his best friends, Scotty put it while giving the eulogy, “Mark was my best friend, the best man at my wedding. But he was many others best man and others considered him their best friend, he was not exclusive so to speak”. Since this is a wine blog I will just say Mark liked wine, a lot, and enjoyed our times together. One of his other good friends who I met 15 years earlier Vince Medina and Toby his wife were just as close and have started their own wine label. It is the inter action of things that always get my brain working. How the random contacts we all experience can have such a profound effect on one’s life.

 At the party after the service, held at Vince and Toby’s home, we drank Irish whiskey and beer. We toasted the life of my BIL and talked our way through five bottles of the stuff, ’til we were talked out or too drunk to care. We all cried, especially his sister, Mother and Father. So in the end we will remember, always having a place setting at the holidays where we were together for the past 21 years. We will toast him at the annual Mark Bailey Golf Tournament. And we will tell stories to the all who will listen because it’s important to do so.

I leave you with this thought! No one is immune or insulated from death. It can come slow or it can slam into you like a freight train. My advice is something you already know always keep those you love as close as possible, friends and family both. There is no excuse with today’s electronic gadgetry to lose contact. Cell phones, text messaging, Facebook, E-mail, U.S. Mail and an invitation to dinner come to mind. You’ll always feel the loss but you will be in a better position to accept it when it comes.

Thanks for allowing me to share, I’ll get back to the fun stuff soon,

In memorandum,

Greg!

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