I got some sad news from my Mom today when I learned that an old school friend of mine, Damon Crowdy, passed away recently. I was sad to learn that Damon died of heart failure after a long struggle with kidney disease.
I hadn't seen Damon in twenty years or so, but I never forgot him. It's not possible to forget a guy like Damon. I was entirely unsurprised to learn from his obituary that as an adult Damon dedicated his life to helping others. Damon was one of the funniest people I've ever known, but unlike so many other children, there was never a hint of cruelty in his humor. And while Damon had a rowdy side as a child, there was also always an almost spiritual quality about him.
If Damon liked you, he would invent a funny nickname for you--I was "Squeaky Mongueeky"--a silly name that nevertheless always made me feel special. I can remember reading the book I Wish I Had An Afro, a story of a young boy's emerging sense of black pride, with Damon in Elementary school, and how Damon created a musical version of the story to the tune of "If I Were A Rich Man" from Fiddler On The Roof. Maybe you had to be there, but it was genuinely hilarious. Most kids are not nearly so clever in their attempts at humor.
I'm sure that Damon touched many lives after I last saw him, and I'm sure that many people are better off for having known him. I know that I am. I will always remember him as a warm, funny, cheerful kid, and regret I didn't get to know the man he became. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.