I stayed home from work today, and Amy called to let me know that Wayne passed away on Saturday.
Even though we knew it could be any time, when I last talked to him a few weeks ago he sounded completely normal. And Jeff ran into him at the Mac Club a week or so ago and he was talking about next festival . . . I guess you're never prepared.
I can't imagine what it will be like without Wayne around. He's been a part of my life for 20 years, and he was one of the most interesting, entertaining, sometimes aggravating and always fun to know people in my wide world of personalities. How many conversations did we have over the years, and how many times did I feel impatient during those conversations, needing to work or wanting to go home as he sat in my office shooting the shit? Certainly not in the past year or two . . .
If there's anything aging and experience teaches you, it's patience and appreciation for the people around you.
And the last time I remember seeing Wayne was the night of our annual meeting. He had gotten his Director of the Year plaque, and he was pretty wasted and pretty emotional. I think he knew it was the end, even though we talked about what he'd do next year at the parade. And this past year he sat with me in the command post for the first time, sharing his thermos of hot coffee (which certainly came in handy).
I know we should have spent more time with him, but it seemed he wanted to choose his own way out. And I had the chance to talk to him a few weeks ago and tell him I loved him and missed him. But I don't think he knew how much . . .
There's not going to be a service. Judy has invited people over the house on Saturday to share their thoughts and memories of Wayne, and we'll go and do that.
Today we had an amazing rain and wind storm, with freakish high temperatures and rising waters. It seems fitting. And all I've done all day is play computer games and eat. (I haven't been able to log into my work computer from home.)
Wayne, I hope you're finding things interesting, wherever you may be, my friend. I'll never forget the way you always called me "Boss," probably the only board member who regularly has. I really don't think the festival will be the same without you, certainly not for me.