Chad Deal 9:26 p.m., June 19
The year was 1981. As I walked down Crawford Avenue in Grantville where I grew up, the little green truck I had seen so often slowed down alongside me. We had never formally met, but I had seen him around, for after all, we were from the same neighborhood...
He calls out to me, "hey, so you want to go hang out?" Usually leery about jumping into automobiles with perfect strangers, this was an exception. For some reason I felt extremely comfortable with this older, long-haired man who strongly resembled Dr. Johnny Fever from the old sitcom, WKRP in Cincinnati. I jumped into the truck and off we went. We spent the whole day together, beach, park, he took me to meet his mom, and at the same time I discovered that his niece happened to be one of my good friends.
We instantly clicked, and over the years we became the best of friends. His family became my second family and vice versa. We had laughed and fought and made up and i was a pain in his ass but he loved me unconditionally, and I him.
I knew something was wrong last July when we went to see Megadeth together, he seemed to be losing his voice and it appeared difficult for him to speak. This had to have been frustrating for an old rocker who is used to screaming at the top of his lungs at a rock concert. I advised him, as anyone would have, to see a doctor and have it checked out. He assured me he would. I grew more and more concerned each time I spoke to him on the phone and it seemed to be getting worse.
Fast forward to Metallica concert, last December. My concern continued to mount when I watched him struggle to be heard. He whistled his way through the show, gotta love his determination to participate and make noise along with the rest of us. The times we have spoken on the phone since I left San Diego have been few and far between due to his difficulty to speak and be heard.
Today is Mother's Day and I found out that my dearest friend is stricken with cancer. It was what I had feared all along. They have operated, then radiation therapy, then we wait and see.
I love you, Don...don't leave me...