Our world is replete with stories about people that pass on with no connections or have simply diminished so much in life that no one notices that they have died.
Two nights ago, just such a person was lost and my father just found out yesterday.
Gary Stevens was born and raised in Fayetteville, NC and was divorced with no children. Now, I know what you’re thinking… “Why am I writing about this man?”
That’s a good question. I didn’t know him well, but I did know him. He talked to my father nearly every day, sometimes several times a day. Aside from me (and of course my step-mother), my father talked to him more than just about anyone.
Over the last few years, many of the talks were with a drunk Gary, but he was still a good man and fun to talk to.
Gary owned his own business; Working Dog Leathers, a business that he ran out of his trailer that he hauled around to gun shows and trap shoots. He was an extremely talented leather working artist creating amazing leather work with common and exotic leathers for over 35 years. Gary had such clients as Barbara Mandrell and General Schwarzkopf. The man had endless stories and a sense of humor that you couldn’t help but laugh at and an appearance to match with his suspenders and top hat. Gary and his dog Rat Dog(who passed away about 5 years ago) drove a distinctive Peterbuilt with a pair of Texas longhorns mounted to the front which he pulled around his custom 32 foot workshop/trailer/home with.
The part that hits me hardest is, he was found dead in his trailer having died alone. My father of course already feels the void as he talked to him every day. But how many other people will miss this talented man or know that he even passed away. Lost souls… No one deserves to die alone. No one.
Gary isn’t the first lost soul I have seen leave our world either. A close family friend by the name of Chuck was lost a couple years ago in similar circumstances, his girlfriend having died a year before, alone and his wife; an angel having passed a year before that found between her bed and her wall. That brings my count of people that I have personally known (albeit some not all that well) that were lost in the last few years, alone and empty to 4.
I have two pleas for you.
- Those who knew Gary, please tell people about him. Carry on his story and don’t forget him. Here is a nice bio I saw written on him that you might enjoy: Working Dog Leather
- This is probably the most critical plea. Please, if you are someone that is lost, alone, in need of a friend, reach out to those you know. Bug the crap out of them and let them know that you care about them and trust me it will be reciprocated. If you need help, seek it by any means possible. There are so many people in this world with the ability to love and all it takes is to reach out to them.
- Don’t dump on your friends. “Talk” to them.
- Don’t spend more than half the time you talk to them – talking about yourself. Ask how they are, ask what’s going on their life and they will show an interest yours as well.
- Don’t give up on yourself or others. That is what brings friendships to a halt and what ultimate causes people to be alone. Yes, we have WAY TOO MANY ways to keep in touch to the point that it’s overwhelming. So pick one… stick to it and don’t stop, but don’t smother either.
I guess… that’s all I have to say about this.