Sunday, June 14, 2009

An incomplete reunion

My high school had a reunion this weekend. Think it would have been 37 years for me.

I wasn't able to make it.

Neither were a number of other high school buds. Especially Lowry.

Steve Lowry was one of a pack of very close friends. Baxter, Bennett, Fisher, Buchanan, Morgan, Boykin, Cook.

We were in the same classes. Played basketball together 52 weeks a year. Grew up together. Learned to drive in the same drivers ed class. Chased the same girls. Rolled each others houses every weekend. Got turned down by the same girls. So, we rolled their houses. A brotherhood.

Lowry was the smartest of the bunch. His mom was the algebra teacher, so it really wasn't fair. But he was smart at everything, including math.

He wasn't street smart like some of us. He was open and honest. In other words, he was gullible.

One of our favorite things to do was to get him going on a story. "Did you hear about the kid born without any eyelids?"

"No", Lowry would answer with a keen expression of interest.

"Yeah, they did miracle surgery. The plastic surgeon took his foreskin and fashioned eyelids for him."

"That's amazing."

"Yeah, they say the kid will be fine. Just a little cockeyed."

"REALLY?"

"NAH, Lowry". That was the refrain that became famous when anyone didn't get something on the uptake immediately. "Nah, Lowry" became part of our lexicon.

After high school, we all went to different colleges. Stayed in touch as best we could, but in the early 70's, that meant a dial up telephone. And long distance.

Steve was taking classes and working at a grocery store where he had worked for years.

One night, he got off work, went to play some hoops, went by his girlfriend's house to kiss her goodnight, and went home to his little garage apartment.

The next morning he didn't show up at work. His boss got concerned because Lowry was Mr. Dependable.

He was found in bed, half dressed. Dead at 21.

The autopsy never proved anything conclusive. No foul play. No drugs. No alcohol. No clear answer as to why Steve died.

The best theory ever offered was perhaps he had sprained an ankle playing basketball the night before and a clot had gotten loose.

We will never know.

I think about Steve all the time. He was such a solid, good friend. Somebody you could count on. Somebody that was there to do whatever needed doing.

Then, gone.

I think all of us that were close with him have been in somewhat of a state of shock since. How can Lowry be just gone? Of all people, Steve?

"Nah, Lowry, didn't get to the reunion. But it's been good to be with you this weekend. Love you man."

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