This is how we say goodbye

It struck me how similar everything was. The people were the same. The preacher was the same. My buddies and I were pulling at our collars and shaking hands. We muttered to each other that we could use a stiff drink. Or eight.

Yeah, it squeezed my heart with similarity. Almost three years ago, we all got together to watch Gulfman and April get married. T and I stood up in our monkey suits and made sure everything went as planned. Yesterday, we did much the same thing. Although this time, G-Rob, T, and I helped carry Gulfman’s casket to the grave.

T never goes anywhere without his camera. He knew wouldn’t be taking any pictures on Tuesday, but he brought the camera just the same. I told him that Tuesday would be one of those days you don’t need pictures to remember. He agreed. Neither of us knew how true it would be.

Imagine eleven bright white news trucks parading with 60 cars full of people behind them. Gulfman rode in the front coach. The procession began in Mauldin, went through Simpsonville, and into Fountain Inn. Along the route, cars pulled to the side, police officers in white gloves blocked intersections and saluted, and construction workers stopped and removed their hard hats.

It was honor for somebody who really deserved it.

There will be a lot of things I remember about yesterday, but that was the one that will remind me of how we said goodbye to Gulfman.

When the day we was over, we went to Chiefs and sat outside. A couple dozen people sat around with beers and wings and told all the stories we’d already told three times. Two counties away, Lt. Governer Andre Bauer plowed his ultralight plane into the ground. Suddenly, the news team went to work.

We couldn’t help but believe that if Gulfman had still been around, he would’ve been on his way to Cherokee County to shoot the crash, bitching the whole way about how Bauer probably crashed the plane to get the sympathy vote in the upcoming Republican primary.

Or maybe not. Gulfman was a lot kinder and gentler in his final years. Still, I like to smile at the idea of Gulfman ranting.

And that’s how I’m going to remember him today.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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1 Response

  1. Between your description and Robot’s photo, it sounds like it was a good sendoff. I wish I could have been there.

    As for a good Gulfman, rant, I can almost hear it now. Since odds are, they’d put him in the chopper with (at best) sketchy location info, he’d spend most of the trip wondering how he was going to find a small plane in the middle of nowhere, while commenting that a Lt. Gov probably shouldn’t be flying a plane anyway.

    Or something like that.

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