I tell everyone that I suffered a stroke nearly four years ago.
That’s not entirely true. I had two strokes, two seizures and one day I walked from the kitchen to the family room, grabbed my laptop and passed out. The final score was three hospital visits, 15 days in the hospital and the end of my journalism career.
My body was a mess. I lived my life in a fog as thick as the ones that roll through San Francisco on cool mornings. I slept a lot, bitched at my wife and wondered when the fog would leave.
I woke up one October morning. No fog. I didn’t feel great, but I felt a little bit spicy. I wanted to get out of the house and drive my car. I slapped my wife on the ass in celebration. Then at 10 that morning I got a phone call from former Detroit Free Press sports writer Vince Ellis, who we call Mini Vinnie.
“Did you hear about Drew Sharp,”? he asked.
“No,” I replied. “What’s up with Boodini?”
I figured Boodini wrote a column that pissed off an athlete and got cussed out or punched.
“He died yesterday,” Mini said. “I think he had a heart attack or something.”
The fog returned. Drew and I grew up together at the Free Press. We covered the Bad Boys Detroit Pistons together and we fought for each other. My first reaction was it wasn’t true.
Boodini was in his basement crafting another “Big Ten sucks” column.
I told my wife and she gave me a long hug. I did not cry because I knew Drew was still alive.
That afternoon my cell phone sent off an alert that I had a phone message. I listened to the new message. It was from Drew “Boodini” Sharp. Message received at 1 pm.
“Hey Terry this is Boodini,” the message began. “I want to let you know that I am thinking of you and pulling for you to get better. Listen to the doctors and listen to (wife)Abs and you are going to be fine.”
I knew it. I knew this fucker was still alive. I let Abs listen to the message.
The fog disappeared again.
“Babe,” she said. “Your friend is gone. Have you read the stories yet? I think Drew was sending you a message on his way to heaven.”
I thought for a moment about some of Drew’s acerbic columns.
“Are you sure he is going to heaven,”? I joked.
Drew was indeed gone. He died at age 56 of hypertensive cardiovascular disease a little after 7 am that day.
I got spooked. And scared. Maybe it was a message from heaven.
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