A Goodbye to Two Friends

Just this week the world suffered a loss when Jordan Sanders, a 19 year old young man, lost his essentially life long fight with cancer. Jordan was a good friend of the twins and often visited and stayed at our house. It seems like almost every time we talked he was in another battle with a new bout but despite this and all the hardships the disease and the treatments caused he always had a smile and a joke.

When we did our book signing at this year's Folk Festival in Natchitoches ,Jordan even rode down there with my sons to see the town and to support me. It is so hard to see such a remarkable young man go through what he did and it really emphasizes how life is not fair or just.

He was an incredible person and has had, and will continue to have, a tremendous effect on anyone who knew him.

I also learned recently that a childhood friend of mine passed away a couple of years ago.

Johnny Robinson was the first black person that I knew and I considered him a friend. My interaction with him likely set the boundaries for my racial views throughout my life, allowing me to realize that color isn't the issue, the person inside is.

Many of my readers will recognize Johnny's name as one of the characters in The Bottle Tree, and he definitely provided the inspiration. I hadn't spoken to Johnny since high school, but occasionally thought about him and wondered what his life was like. I decided to contact him not long ago and put the word out through the social media world that I was trying to find him only to learn that he had died of cancer about two years ago, another example of why we shouldn't lose touch with old friends or why we shouldn't "put off until tomorrow" when we decide to reconnect with them.

Goodbye to both of you.