Let me just start by saying I’m getting more than a little tired of writing these damn things.
Larry Gammage was a student at SLCC when I was a student. He was older than me, but we were in a bunch of classes together. I knew him as a funny yet maybe a little-bit shy guy—and I was FLOORED to find out how dynamic and energetic a preacher he was in one class. He always shook my hand when he saw me and talked to me like an old friend even when months or years passed between meetings. Larry was a regular in the Library, even after he was long-gone from the school’s list of students. He would walk in, stand just out of view of any of the folks in the office, pound on the desk and shout “SERVICE!” I’d always come out and say, “Yes? Can I help you, sir?” in a slightly waiter-ish tone. But he never wanted anything but to shake my hand and ask me how I was doing.
I’m not at SLCC anymore…and I know this is going to sound like I’m saying it just because he died, but in my last week there, it struck me that I’d probably never hear him shout for service again…I guess that’s really true now.
Larry was a good man. He was raising his son in the best way he knew how and he had a really good head on his shoulders. He went into the hospital with severe stomach pains (likely related to treatments; he’d been on dialysis). While there, he had a intestinal aneurysm and, according to the account I read, “died quickly.” At least it was quick. It’s just a shame that living without folks like Larry in the world sounds like an interminably SLOW existence. People always say that the dead “are in a better place” and that we’ll “see them again…” And as much as I believe that, I’ve never gotten used to the fact that I still wish they hadn’t died. I wish that now.
…and he wore really nice hats, too. I always liked his hats.
Larry. I’ll miss you. It was an honor to serve a man like you when you’d come into the Library. And once more for the road…
“Yes? Can I help you, sir?”