Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Loren and Loyalty

Loren was loyal (sometimes to a fault) to anyone who befriended him. He was loyal to his friends, and also to his beliefs, his books, his causes, to the Florida Trail Association, to his very favorite nature preserve, where he communed with nature, the hummingbirds and its founder, even after it treated him harshly, to his 1999 KIA, and to his sports teams.

I’m thinking of Loren and loyalty now because the Miami Heat are in the NBA basketball semi-finals. Loren was loyal to Florida, and so he rooted for its sports teams. He preferred the Orlando Magic, but a Florida team usually got his vote in playoff games, even the Heat! When I lived in St. Petersburg he and I cheered on the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. We both liked Tropicana Field, even though some people hate the covered ballpark. I took my grandkids to the games whenever they were in town visiting me.

Miami may not get to the NBA final championship games, but Loren would remain loyal. There's always next year, or maybe the Magic will get there! He felt like this about the Syracuse university basketball team, in his beloved state of New York (the whole state, not just the city he would remind us!). He never wavered in his loyalties. Well, sometimes he had more than one favorite, but there was a constancy there too.

Loyalty was a hallmark of Loren’s remarkable journey.

Fate, however, did not return the favor. Maybe one day I’ll sit on his memorial bench on a Florida trail he loved, and forgive the fates. I don't feel like it now. Maybe I’ll get to the point where I can hit fate out of the ballpark, and bring Loren home. Make a three-pointer at the final buzzer of a tied championship game, and give Loren the victory over the fates that he deserves.

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