Don Bauder 4:30 p.m., Dec. 9
I just received another delivery of emotional baggage today. Can it be too much to ask for it all to stop? The last time I received a package from Sacramento, it was just before Veterans day of 2010 and it contained both the flag and eulogy from my Father’s funeral. I had not seen my dad in well over 42 years and the package I received was from his fellow veteran and friend of 31 years, Wes Nell.
Wes had been my lifeline to Dad, filling in 42 years of gaps. We became fast friends and although we never met in person, we talked or wrote each other every week for the last 3 ½ years. He told stories of amazing rescues. He and Dad had worked for the FBI and US Treasury Departments as divers. They dove and retrieved everything from drugs, guns, to bodies and cars. The stories were fascinating and we would talk for hours on end.
Wes teetered on the brink of 86 and had been in a frail state of health since Christmas. He had sounded both weak and winded, as far back as January of this year.
Our last conversation was to be the week before he died. He stated how he had no appetite and always felt weak. Even so, he was never too weak to go for his morning walk with the dog, stopping for breakfast at the home of Larry and Mikki Otto.
It was to be a call from Larry, alerting me of his concern for Wes and regarding his admittance into the hospital. He was having pain and trouble breathing. He dressed in his best and then had called 911. He was rushed to the hospital by ambulance and passed away later in the evening, the same day. It was also Larry, who called to inform me of his passing.
Wes and I had been making plans for me to go to Sacramento. Then he and I would finally be able to meet each other and would travel to Dixon, to visit Dad’s grave together. For the last 2 ½ years Wes kept saying he had left everything to Dad in his will. I urged him to change it, because Dad was no longer in the picture and with his failing health, it was important to insure his wishes would be met.
This brings me back to the emotional baggage I received today, just two days after Wes’ memorial service. This time it was to be an envelope containing a copy of my father’s death certificate and a copy of Wes’ will. The will states my father is to receive Wes’ estate in full.
I would have been so happy to have received old cards and letters, or even recorded tapes telling of their grand adventures. That’s the treasure I would have held dear. Instead I received a pocket full of angst, courtesy of Larry Otto.
I just want it all to stop.