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Botsko

On September 16, 1998, my friend Ron Botsko died of a malignant brain tumor at the age of 40. I’d found out about the diagnosis about 4 months earlier, and Ron thought he had more time. As sad as I was to hear of his death, I was so thankful that I’d ignored Ron’s request that I not visit him in Nashville. I’d bought a plane ticket anyway and visited him in early August. We saw Private Ryan and got Mexican food, and it was weirdly normal once I got used to his bald head.

My friend Eli was, coincidentally, the person riding on the elevator with me when I was reading the news about Ron’s diagnosis and the first person to call me after I got the news of Ron’s death. In both instances, Eli ran to the market, fetched me a bottle of red wine and then disappeared to leave me to my grieving. I don’t think I’ve ever told him how much those two small acts of kindness meant to me. Maybe he’ll read this and know. So, thanks for enabling me to drown my sorrows in booze, Eli. You’re a real pal!

I had just 5 years to be Ron’s friend, and he was a most excellent friend. His sense of humor was pretty amazing, and it came through in his photos. And every September 16th, I take out a box and go through the cards and photos that he sent me. The past few years I’ve managed to get through the box with only smiles.

Since these pictures make me smile, why not share them with the rest of the world? (Ahhh, if only anyone read my blog!).

At some point when Ron and I were in language school at DLI (the Defense Language Institute), our company had an auction to raise money for barracks improvements or something. The auction was  for the chance to throw a pie in someone’s face. All the muckity mucks were doing it (who wouldn’t want to throw a pie in his boss’ face?), and anyone could volunteer. Anyway, there was some girl who decided that I was the antichrist, and she kept saying that if I volunteered for the auction, she’d make a big donation. So I did. And then we started hearing the things she was saying about not so much throwing the pie at me but hitting me in the face with it and throwing me down to the ground. Hmmm. So Ron jumped in and saved the day by outbidding that bitch. And lucky for me, someone got a photo of it.

Ron throwing pie in my face

The rest of these photos are by Ron, sent to me over the years after we’d graduated from language school and moved far away from each other.

Handsome devil!

This came with the annoucement that he was moving to Nashville

Hmmmmmm.

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