A sense of loss

Posted: March 5, 2014 in Baseball, family

It hasn’t been a particularly good week here in cow country. Sunday started with word that we lost a family member. My cousin Bill passed away late Saturday after a long illness.

He left a big hole in our family.

Bill was a larger-than-life character. He could tell stories (he had a million of them… seriously), he could take it as well as he could dish it out, and his visits were always anticipated, mainly because you knew it would be a fun time. Even as a somewhat angsty teenager, I looked forward to the chance to chat with him.

The man knew and loved baseball. Boy, did he know baseball. Watching a game with him was an education. He first pointed out the fact that the American League was a tougher league. I didn’t want to admit it, lifetime Phillies fan that I am, but he turned out to be correct. He was usually correct when it came to sports… much to my chagrin when I tried to play fantasy baseball against him and got beaten like a rented mule.

He could be stubborn… he was a Ford guy through and through and that’s all there was to it. Used to crack me up when he and my dad (lifelong Chevy guy) would start arguing cars.

He taught me that an argument is different than a fight… and if you wanted to argue, be prepared to back it up.

The fun times we had, though. I remember going to a Penn State game with him and a bunch of my other cousins. As we were heading out 322 to State College, we passed a group of women protesting an adult bookstore. Bill says, “Damn… I should’ve rolled down the window and yelled ‘Show us your ***s!'”

I don’t know that I had ever laughed that hard.

Bill wasn’t PC by any stretch of the imagination. But that’s OK. He was a good guy who would always be there to help you out. He loved his family through and through.

When I was recuperating from my surgery last year, he took the time to write me a real, actual letter. He was checking in, seeing how I was doing. I never replied to it, although I always meant to. That’s going to haunt me for awhile, because I thought I’d have more time.

We never have enough time.

So, we lost another good one… he left behind a legacy, though, not only of great memories, but some great people as well. Doug, Tom, Susan, Kurt, and Emily, your dad was one of the finest people I’ve had the honor to have known. And somehow, I just know he and my dad are arguing about cars somewhere in the afterlife.

Rest in peace, Bill… you earned it.

  1. Kurt Smith says:

    Thanks Brian for the very kind tribute to Dad. I got a couple of much needed great laughs out of it. Yes, my father and yours are undoubtedly debating Ford-Chevy right now…probably baseball, NASCAR and everything else under the sun. They were definitely the entertainment when we held our NASCAR fantasy league drafts.

    And his anti-PC nature was one of the most endearing things about him. Sometimes people would be genuinely appalled when they stopped laughing.

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