It has been not quite a month since I've written. The entries are getting further apart than I have ever intended. Two, maybe three, things are driving this - my general ennui about much of everything and not feeling well at all, something that has been going on since well before the last entry. And then there is Facebook, an instant gratification vehicle for writers in search of an audience, something all writers are in search of or we wouldn't be writing.
So, let this entry serve as a catch-up of things, and a reflection of those things. I had prepared but not posted a different entry #749 entitled "Charlotte on a whim." Its purpose was to explain how I came about attending the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte the first few days after Labor Day. That entry, if posted, would have included a discussion about the drive to and from the destination, which took me, briefly, from Louisville to Lexington to Knoxville to Asheville to Charlotte. The return trip was similar but, in keeping with the well-established rules, not exactly the same path.
While the entire visit was fun, there were highlights. I got to meet, for the second time, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, whom I had met the first time in 2010 not long after his election. But his role in national politics has risen considerably since that first meeting at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center in San Antonio. Naturally, indulging in Facebook-instant gratification, I posted a picture of the handsome young mayor taken in front of the Capital Lounge, an upscale eatery at 2nd and Tryon streets in downtown Charlotte. Hanging out with my congressman, John Yarmuth, I got to meet a few members of the House and one member of the Senate, Al Franken of Minnesota, and, again, there is a Facebook pic. It was all a happy event.
My return home and subsequent weeks were fairly uneventful leading up to what would be yet another birthday on September 23rd, my 52nd. As many of my seven faithful readers know, I do like to celebrate birthdays, or birthweeks, or even birthmonths if I can get away with it. That had been my plan.
Earlier today I drove out to Evergreen Cemetery, a well-established tract of land just south of the Watterson Expressway along the eastside of Preston Highway, first established about 100 years ago. My purpose was to find the grave of a dear friend, Curtis Lee Heckel, who was buried Monday. I had attended his visitation on Sunday but could not make the funeral the next day. Curtis, who was 24, died in an automobile accident very early Wednesday morning, September 19th. The accident occurred on IN60 near Carrwood Road just outside the town of Borden, Indiana in northern Clark County. One other person was killed and two others were injured.
All the happiness of the previous month evaporated in an instant with his death. I had seen him about seven hours prior to his death at the downtown McDonald's at 2nd and Broadway. He was with the other three persons who were still with him the next morning. While he wasn't driving, it was his car which crossed the center line headed eastbound (back toward Louisville) and was struck by two different oncoming vehicles. I visited the site Friday afternoon looking, darkly, for mementos, one of which had a connection between the two of us which I located in the weeds along the roadside.
I had not visited a crash site in over 21 years. The last one was located at the intersection of Standiford Lane and Preston Highway, immediately in front of Evergreen Cemetery where Curt has been laid to rest. That was for another friend, Rob Spears, killed in an automobile accident early on a Wednesday morning, July 24, 1991. I have never forgotten Rob in all of these years and often visit his gravesite at Rest Haven Cemetery in southcentral Jefferson County.
The bend in the road where Curt lost his life is one I have seen many times over the years, including once with Rob 22 years ago. My brother lived in Borden for a while and I visited him several times. On one of those occasions, Rob, at my brother's request, drove my brother's 1986 Firebird back to my house from Kevin's mobile home. Another friend, Keith Dickerson, lived in Borden off and on for a while as he worked the farmlands up on top of Saint John Hill, home to the various orchards of the intermingled Stumler and Huber families. Again, I made the trek back and forth several time between here and there. I always notice the highway sign on westbound (but technically northbound) IN60, right after IN111 comes to an end at Bennettsville. It reads "Borden 9, Salem 23." Those two numbers represent my birthday. A small thing, but the sign remains. I noticed it again as I went to see the site where Curt died. I will miss him. I still miss Rob. Rest In Peace, Curtis Lee Heckel. Good night, sweet prince.