Buddy Finch died last week. Don't be alarmed if you don't recognize Buddy's name. You shouldn't. Buddy was a fraternity brother of mine during my college days at Memphis State University in the '60s. After college, Buddy went into banking and lived in his beloved Tennessee. He was 57 when he died.
We probably all have a Buddy Finch or two in our lives - those people who have a substantial impact on your younger life. Too often you then lose contact. But you never, ever forget what they meant to you, the good times you had and the memories etched deeply in your heart and mind and soul. That was Buddy.
Unfortunately we sometimes don't take the time to tell someone what they have meant to us. Chalk it up to laziness or distance or time or some other lame excuse that we use. And we make a terrible mistake when we let those dear friends go about their daily lives without telling them those magical words. I never took the chance to tell Buddy. And though I said a sincere prayer today and thanked him for his friendship, it was my loss that I didn't take the time years ago to express my feelings on friendship, devotion and lifelong memories. It was my loss and I feel it so terrible right now.
It makes little difference that I explain the character of Buddy Finch. He was a true gentleman and leader. He single-handedly embraced me on that first meeting and welcomed me into a world that was foreign to me at the time. He became a fraternity brother as well as a brother in life. He taught me much and in return all I had to offer was my friendship. And of that, I gave freely to Buddy.
I introduced Buddy to a Sikeston girl and they became quite fond of one another. As life would have it, the young girl (we were all young then), developed cancer and lived her final days at St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Memphis. Buddy was her faithful visitor and companion in those terrible last days. He organized a blood drive to donate to her. And he joined me in mourning her passing. You would expect nothing less of Buddy Finch.
Take the time today to express your feelings to the Buddy Finchs in your life. Someday you - just like me - will realize it's too late. And unsaid words will haunt you. It does little good to tell a person the importance they brought to your life when it's too late. The words may be just as sincere and genuine but the recipient of those words will not receive them the same way. And in life - despite what the poets would have you believe - we often don't get a second chance.
God Bless you Buddy.