thank you friend.

This afternoon I will be on my way to the visitation for my friend Chris. He died on Saturday, a month before his 56th birthday. He died from a pulmonary embolism. There was nothing that could stop it.

jon-chris-kidWe met just before fourth grade, when we moved into a house across the street and three doors down. We played street football and backyard snow football and Stratego and Dogfight. He taught me poker. I took him to work at a camp. He was my Catholic friend. I was his evangelical friend. He was the high school choir president. I was the band president.

We went to different schools, different grad schools. We met for coffee between terms at JoJos. I had the peasant lunch: French onion soup, cheddar cheese, apple slices. I can’t remember what Chris had. I just can’t see it.

wedding-2In 1982, Chris and Nancy and I went out to JoJos. It was the first time she met him. Chris and I talked with our usual stream of consciousness. Nancy was a little scared, not of Chris, but of a side of me she had never seen. But she stayed. Chris was my best man. I was his.

A few years later we visited Chris and Mary. I talked about my dissertation. I told him that I really liked the Vatican II documents I’d studied. He smiled.

My friends know I’m not good at staying current. Even in a Facebook age, we didn’t stay in touch more than every couple years. You know how it is. And I’m not sure that it’s wrong. Our lives change.

But I know that it would be wrong to let him go without telling someone that my life was changed by Chris Coulomb. Because it means yours has been, too.


4 thoughts on “thank you friend.

  1. Lenore

    Your paragraph beginning My friends know . . . is powerful! You and Chris had a for sure to-be-cherished friendship.


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  3. Ann Gribbin

    Jon, thank you so much for posting this. I have great memories of Chris from High School, but have had no personal contact with him since. I appreciate you acknowledging him, and remembering your friendship. I remember the good friendhip and comradery the two of you had.


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