Monday, October 5, 2009

Tiger town lost a great friend 10 years ago today

So much has changed in the last 10 years. I mean, think about it. Many of us have graduated high school and/or college, gotten married, gotten divorced, had children, started careers, fought in wars, run for office and even been on game shows. While so much has changed for all of us, one thing has remained the same, we never stop thinking about this day, 10 years ago, when our great friend Nate Burns passed away.

Now, it's easy, especially coming from a small town like Fort Fairfield, to call someone a friend, even if you didn't know them that well. Nate was different. He truly was friends with everyone. I was fortunate enough to have played sports with Nate. We ran track together, competing in most of the same events, as well as being half of the 4x100 meter relay team. We also played basketball and shared a love for our favorite team, the Boston Celtics. He and I would talk forever about the Celtics and what we thought they needed to do to get themselves better each year. We were pretty sure we could coach them back to a championship.

Nate's last day is something I will never forget, and I remember it often. It was a Tuesday and I was working at Hillside IGA bagging groceries when I heard what had happened. I called around to a few people to try to verify that the news was true, hoping that the rumors were wrong. When I confirmed it, I convinced my boss to let me out early and I raced home to meet up with some friends to reflect on what just happened. We were going to UMPI at the time, and it rocked the small campus there as well. I even had one professor who lived in Fort Fairfield that excused my buddy Matt and I from class in order to grieve and attend any services. I remember having lunch with Nate a week before at the campus center and we had arranged a big flag football game that upcoming weekend. I remember being confused, upset and in a state of shock over everything. I still find myself tearing up randomly when I hear an Ozzy song or see an old school Celtics video.

Nate was a great friend and a great young man. He won't just be remembered on October 5th, he is remembered each and everyday for all the joy he brought to his friends and family over the years. I think of you often Nate, and miss you everyday. Go Celtics! I'm just saying...