ONE OF the more upsetting aspects of getting older is that we hear increasingly of past acquaintances going toes up.
It’s even more distressing when it involves close friends and especially when it is totally unexpected.
Snuffing It; Assuming Room Temperature; Meeting the Kennedys, Buying the Farm – they are all terms for that inevitable event that will overtake us all, and are a light-hearted and sometimes tasteless way to cope with our fear of the unknown.
My own philosophy is simply that if death was good enough for the likes of Churchill, Gandhi, Lennon and Red Rum, then it’s good enough for me.
What is important though is how we remember those we have lost.
Just eight weeks ago a large group of us were enjoying our biennial ‘Bermuda’ reunion in the beautiful Cotswolds, and then yesterday news reached me that one of our number has tragically died in Boston following surgery.
It’s hard to take in when the memories are so fresh. We had four days and nights of eating, drinking and reminiscing over past times amid much laughter and silliness. And now the awful confirmation that life is extremely tenuous.
It really does reinforce the notion, though one we often fail to follow, that each hour and each day should be lived to the full.
Our friend was known to everyone as Prunes. Not his real name obviously, but a handle he acquired as a boy when misjudging the height of a barbed wire fence he was jumping over.
I leave the rest to the imagination.
Happily, he assured us, no permanent damage was inflicted, but the name stuck nevertheless.
He was a character, with an acerbic manner and was sharp and witty in a dead pan sort of way. What you saw was exactly what you got and there was no suffering fools gladly.
When meeting him for the first time, it was hard to determine whether he liked you or not, and a feeling that he was perhaps secretly laughing at your uncertainty.
Rum was mostly his drink of choice, but he also enjoyed Canadian Club whisky, and in ordering this at the bar, he would ask for a Maybelline and water.
Asked why he referred to it as that, he replied that it was because the more of them he drank, the better the ladies looked.
Rest in peace Prunes and don’t give the angels a hard time.