Lew called late Tuesday evening.
I could tell as soon as he said, “This is Lew” that something was wrong.
We’ve been friends it seems since dinosaurs roamed the earth…about 30 years at least.
Before we met he was a cop in southern Oregon. In the Vietnam era he did a tour in the Air Force. I’ve always ribbed him about how tough it must have been to be a PR guy and an officer who got to live off-base with his wife. He was a marketing guy and when they moved to Portland so his wife, Gail, could run her regional ad agency he elected to go over to the client side and became the Marketing Director for the Port of Portland.
The everlasting argument
We met when I refused to respond to an RFP (Request For Proposal) for the selection of a new advertising agency by the Port of Portland. My view was that it wasted agency time and resources and that the costs were not recoverable. His view was that it leveled the playing field and made for a more logical review and selection process. We revisited that discussion continuously over the years. I never let him forget that he had gone over to the “dark side.”
The Advertising Golf Association
Somewhere along the way we both became members of the local chapter of the Advertising Golf Association and played in the club’s tournaments monthly for a lot of summers. We bunked together on the club’s “Getaway” weekends. All the members we could muster (30 to 40) would play one course in Eugene on Friday, and overnight in a motel. Next morning we would drive to a mountain course called Tokatee and play it then drive to Black Butte, stay overnight and play one of their courses on Sunday. Sunday night we made the long drive back to Portland. Lew served as President of the organization a couple times
Who cares who wins Class C
The Getaway was a three-day tournament. The third day you were paired by scores with the closest player in your class. Lew and I found ourselves playing in the same foursome and vying for the class C prize just about every year. I think I won once in maybe 20 years. I always told him it was because he got to play more than I did being on the “dark side.”
A couple years ago we had to give up the game. My knees went and he had to start chemo.
A voice from the past
He was the announcer on my first speaker products. We were talking about my plans to record cassette tapes of my most requested Networking Ninja presentations (this was a few years ago). He volunteered. He turned on his deep resonant voice and nailed all of them in the booth on the first take!
I listened to one of those tapes today. I know I’m going to treasure it.
A big yellow dog
The last couple years he has had the company of a big yellow dog that senses his every mood. I’m not as sensitive and I’m a couple freeways away. But each time he returns from his oncologist my phone rings and he updates me.
So many of our friends have gone scudding off across the sky that, at times, I know he must feel alone, feeling his way in the fog.
He told me the experimental chemotherapy he had been on since October had stopped working. The doctor gave him two weeks to two months.
We’re laying plans for some lunches and dinners. It won't be a "Getaway" but there are a couple clubhouses that I think he would like to visit one last time.
Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com
His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.