I'm a first name basis kind of soul. Dave my mailman, Diana my hairdresser, and Jerry my neighbor can attest to that. My address book on my iPhone is further proof for every person within it is listed by their first, not last names. Though not traditional it's never posed any issues and works well for me in storing the information needed for family and friends. There is one caveat that was always more of a joy than a true issue.
Our media buyer from work, Charlie is often needed via the phone to clarify billings. As I am the final step in the process of releasing approval of funds I pick his name from my phone from time to time. Only more often than not I end up calling my friend Charlie in error. Sometimes I get him directly, other times I get voicemail and hang up. On those occasions he will then see that I called, and in true cell phone etiquette always call me back. In these cases there is most always a moment of confusion as I am completely perplexed why he is calling. This confusion always humored him- especially since we have danced this waltz before, but by the end of the conversation twenty minutes have past and I am recharged and always left smiling.
It isn't just inconsequential phone calls either, Charlie was the first person I called when Erik was taken to the hospital. He is part of all of our celebrations, many family vacations, and endless evenings where the stories and laughter outlasted the food on the table.
Tonight I got a call that Charlie died. He had been sick with the flu these last few weeks and it progressed to pneumonia which was just too much for his body to handle. I can't believe it, I just don't know how to put my friend away and tuck those stupid, but oh so precious misdialed conversations away forever. In the fifteen years of knowing Charlie he taught me to surf (okay, tried to teach me), to fish for trout (as well as fry the trout perfectly over an open flame), to never underestimate the power of a good beach bonfire, and to laugh whenever possible among friends.
I will so miss you.