Learning from a dying friend
Kevin Bourne was likely one of the best running backs who ever entered the Stone Castle to play football at Bristol Tennessee High School. And he was the likely the best all-around athlete of our THS graduating class of 1976. He was also my friend. Well, eventually he became my friend - and a good one, at that. But it didn’t start out that way. Nope. Not at all.
When I first met Kevin he was a bully toward me. Readers will understand how this can happen as most all of us faced some type of bullying at some point when we were in school. And the “feeling” of being bullied as a child has a way of staying embedded in our psyches the rest of our lives, which is primarily what makes it so bad.
However, as the years passed by I began to come across Kevin around Bristol from time to time. The first time might have been some 25 years after we graduated together. He had fallen upon hard times.
I won’t go into all that ensued thereafter. Just let it be written that Kevin and I became true friends. In fact, I visited him often as he later lay dying in a nursing home in Erwin, TN. I asked him one day if there was anything I could do for him. He winked and said, “First of all you could forgive me for anything bad I ever did to you.”
“Done long, long ago,” I replied.
Kevin smiled. He knew I spoke true. Then he asked me, “Do you think you could find me a THS hat?”
Later on, when I brought him a bonafide THS hat, the nurses there told me he even slept in it. He is wearing it in the pic with me above. Heck, he might well have been wearing it when he died.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial