I lost a dear friend on Saturday. My hiking buddy, close friend, and business associate, Bud Wilson, passed away at the age of 65 of an apparent heart attack.
I seem to be losing people with a distressing frequency. My mother passed away in February of 2008; my Uncle passed away in July of that year; and now Bud is gone, long before his time. Each one has hit me in a different way, but each was a body blow. They all hurt.
Bud was the very picture of health. He was a strict vegetarian, did not smoke, and usually hiked five or six miles daily. He could literally walk me into the ground on the backpacking trips we made in the past few years up in the mountains of western North Carolina. That is just part of what makes his death such a shock. I thought that Bud would long outlive any of his peers, including me. Life and fate operate in unknowable ways.
Bud was a high energy guy, enthusiastic about many things including the National Funding Association, which he co-founded and headed, as well as hiking, photography, genealogy, and music. Bud was something of a renaissance man, with interests as diverse as stock market investing and single-action firearms.
On our forays into the wilderness, he proved to be knowledgeable about woodcraft, camping techniques, and nature. Bud took all the backpacking pictures you see here on the blog. I often called on him as a sounding board about business, politics, and life in general.
On Thursday, March 12, we will bury our friend. I have been asked to serve as pallbearer. When I am past the shock and deepest grief, I shall compose a poem for Bud. It is the very least I can do for such a good man.
Meantime, all I can think to say is good-bye, old friend.