A couple more libraries lost
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
I remember reading this in a book: When an old man dies, a library burns down.
I fully intended to write this column when Ed Doak was still alive. I planned on sitting down with him in his Glenwood home, as I had done in early October of this past year, and soaking up many more of his interesting stories about fishing, baseball and his service to our country in World War II.
We would talk more about the Rockies baseball team and try to figure out their late-season collapse, and hope for better things from them next spring.
I never made that visit.
A month later, Ed’s wife, Gen, called to let me know that stomach cancer had taken her husband from this Earth. I thought about all the meaningless daily duties that had kept me from another talk with Ed, and I was disappointed in myself for letting them get in the way of what is important in life.
Around the same time in October, I stopped for a visit at Paul Driskill’s house. I taught school with Paul for 10 years at Glenwood Elementary and had run in races with him since the early 1980s. Taking note of Driskill’s absence at many local races, I decided to pay him a visit to make sure all was well.
It turned out things were not well with my good friend. Paul was barely able to walk around his house, let alone go out for the daily runs that had been his staple for many years. We talked about old times, mostly running stories, and I promised Paul and his wife, Jeannie, that I would be back soon, and to let me know if I could help in any way.
I never made it back.
The call came on Christmas morning that Paul had passed away the previous night. I thought about never seeing Paul again at races, and not being able to talk with him. He and Jeannie were always so nice to me. A heavy feeling came to my heart. Steps had been taken. Ones that could never be retraced.
If only the local library had a section I could go to and watch videos of people who are no longer with us. To hear their stories again, in their own voices. Voices that have been stilled by death. I would like that very much. Everyone has a novel in them that is waiting to be told.
This spring, I’ll be back at the Doak’s house mowing the lawn, as I have done so many times in the past. Gen will be there. She always has some good stories for me.
Gen still has volumes to add to her life’s collection. Maybe she will tell me more about Ed’s time spent fighting for our freedom in the Philippines and at Okinawa.
Ed wouldn’t talk much about the two Bronze Stars he was awarded for bravery in the war, but Gen let me know there were four American soldiers who have Ed to thank for saving their lives.
When Tulo cracks a long one over the left field wall to start the Rockies new season in April, I’ll smile and hope that Ed somehow knows. I have a feeling he will be smiling too.
On my runs, I’ll think of Paul often. I’ll wear socks on my hands, instead of gloves, and socks on my feet that don’t match. These were two of his unforgettable trademarks, among many.
The tradition will be carried on.
The running crew will miss you, Paul.
Mike Vidakovich is a freelance sports writer for the Post Independent.
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