We attended a memorial service recently on the town common for a friend up the street. He was 71. Way too young. An avid golfer, he’d recently published a little book on his father’s witty golf anecdotes. In the years I attended Rotary with him, he rarely failed to cough up a “happy dollar” to mention something about “my 94-year-old-father.” The gag was that, year after year, his father never aged. He was continuously 94. My wife and I will be offering this book at a table with donations going to Johnson Hall. We were proud to have witnessed that gracious and loving eulogy.

My friend struggled most of this year with recurring brain tumors. Online, his daughter kept neighbors up on his progress, and sadly, his rapid decline in July. He and his family embraced the reality that they were “not going to win this race.” Accepting his fate, he decided in concert with his family and medical professionals, to alleviate everyone’s suffering.

My wife and I are grateful for our good health (knock on wood!) Ofttimes, though, she and I have vowed that, faced with the inevitable, we’d have the temerity to take the same route. She’d say a prayer. I’d pour a bourbon. One … maybe another — then done! Enough — we were not put on earth to suffer.

If it comes to pass that I’d be in a position to determine the disposition of my passing, I’d like to think I’d have the courage and compassion to choose the intelligent and honorable route that my friend chose. Predisposed as I am to believe that there’s some form of afterlife awaiting those who’ve led a good one, I know my friend is somewhere on the links, enjoying a round — with his 94-year-old father.


Buddy Doyle


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