Good times with Harry

Oh, God, has it been a year? A year since my pal Harry decided to engineer his own swan song?

It has indeed. Therefore, it’s a good time to make up for the lame eulogy I inflicted on everybody during last year’s memorial service and use this space to deliver The Eulogy I Should Have Done, which I’ll call “The Last Time Harry Cracked Me Up.”

We were in Death Valley for New Year’s weekend, making the pivot from ’05 to ’06. I had picked Harry up at his house that Friday, and we sped on down to D.V. for a little R & R and some proper mourning; our mutual pal Tom was lying on his death bed at St. Mary’s. So thoughts of him were very close to the surface as we journeyed southward.

We spent the afternoon of Sunday the 31st at one of my favorite perches in the park, up on a high ridge overlooking the valley. There, in that appropriately scenic setting, we’d consumed a collegiate number of beers and Doritos while sharing memories and laughs over tall tales of Tom. This fitting send-off came to an end at about 5 in the afternoon, when blustery weather forced us to scram.

We scurried back to my trailer in Furnace Creek to get food, warmth and more inebriants. By 8, we were both tired of talking, weary of almost nonstop nostalgia. I had a portable DVD player, and Harry had a copy of The 40 Year Old Virgin, so we gave our chatter a time out and fired up the flick.

During the movie, I had to exit for the camp rest room. As I got up to leave, I began making some loud, drunken, instantly forgettable inane statement. My plan was to conclude the inanity, then open the door of the trailer and head to the head. But, alas, my timing must have been off a tad due to the aforementioned inebriants, resulting in the very last word of my sentence, a common vulgarity of the four-letter tribe, being delivered just as I opened the trailer door, so as to be projected oafishly to the entire campground.

I stepped outside, closed the door, and it then occurred to me that I should look back at the window, just to see if Harry was reacting to my blaring blooper. Sure enough, I could see his silhouette, and sure enough, his head was bobbing up and down ever so slightly. The bastard was completely laughing his ass off. I somehow knew he would be. After all, I’d known the guy a long time.

Seeing him lose it triggered a similar reaction in me, and I started giggling like a total loon outside the trailer. Harry could hear me bust up, which, of course, caused him to lose it even more. And as his laughter got more hyenically maniacal, I lost it even further, and so forth and so forth.

We had a real good time that night.