For Vernon

One of my favorite people at my local Y died last week. I didn’t learn of his death in time to attend the funeral, so I will honor him here.

Vernon never met a stranger. When I would hear people laughing I’d look and find him at the center of the conversation. He liked to sneak up behind me when I was on a bike trainer and pop me in the shoulder blades with his towel. When I turned around and saw his mischievous face, my scowl (at having been popped with a towel) turned into a smile. Every. Single. Time.

Vernon’s wife hurt her back and had to stop working out. When I asked about his bride, his face grimaced as he gave me an update. He felt her pain because he loved her so much.

Vernon was in good shape. He was tall, probably about 6’2″ or 6’3″ and he walked with a straight spine. I thought he was pretty good looking, too.

Did I mention, Vernon was 91 years old when he died? Ninety one. No one ever guessed his age because he looked about 70. And when I say 70, I mean a young 70.

I’d been wanting to interview him for this blog but I never screwed up the courage to ask him. A missed opportunity. You’ll have to take my word for it; the Y will not be the same without him. That sounds like a cliche but I mean it with all I’ve got.

Workout buddy, comedian, towel popper, veteran, gentleman, faithful husband. So many great qualities crammed into one human being. I’m so glad I had the honor of knowing him.

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