This has been a tough first half of 2012. So many people have died from my hometown — it’s ridiculous. We’ve all been thinking this for years, but all of a sudden it just seems like too much. Is it just that people from small country towns are depressed or something? Or is it more than that. So many people from the gorgeous class of ’87 have died that if you looked at a yearbook, there are probably 5 dead on every page. But there are other odd deaths. It’s not just the young. My first drama teacher died in February — dropped dead while on a ski lift with her family. Then there was Kevin and Kim, a couple I went to high school with, who I was FB friends with — he murdered her on the street and then shot himself. That happened in April and shocked the town. And there were deaths in between, people who I didn’t know, but who meant the world to some of my hometown friends. Then this past weekend, one of my best friend’s from this town lost her brother in a motorcycle accident. Seriously. I’m feeling so helpless. And then there is Parker Gates. I don’t know what happened, but he’s gone from this world. One minute he was there — on FB at least for me to say hi to, and the next he’s dead…friends are posting RIP. Huh?
I’m glad that I got back in touch with him after all these years. He was my first kiss — when I was 12. We never talked about it — that kiss — I always figured he’d forgotten all about it — he was a guy after all, but I could NEVER forget that day or that kiss. It was awesome! So perfectly perfect and not clunky and wrong as first kisses could go — when you are 12 (ugh) kisses can go pretty wrong. He was a prince, not a frog and I’m glad that he chased me all over town until I relented and let him kiss me (yup, that’s how it happened). It certainly set the tone for the kind of kisses one should be getting often and always. So thank you Parker Gates for that kiss! (It was out of movie, I swear!) You were a cool cat as a teenager and as an adult, I always got the sense you were a good person. I’ll miss you…and I’m so sorry for your children and family who will miss you the most.