Some of you may remember The Fat Guy. Some of you may have even been the ones to introduce me to him. For those who aren’t aware of the man, go read his archives. There’s a little something for everyone there.
In my long overdue blogroll cruise, I discovered an entry on his site dated 2-5-14. It wasn’t like him to go so long without posting except when he was really ill (and I knew he was still fighting cancer, going to see specialists regularly, etc), so I checked in on the comments and saw the news I didn’t want to see: he had passed away February 7, right around midnight.
He’s no longer in pain. He’s no longer slowly wasting away. Now he gets the chance to sit at the great bar in the sky, telling stories and making people laugh, and maybe, just maybe, he’ll be the guardian angel the Rangers need this year to win the Series. If anyone can pull strings from Above to make it happen, it’s the Fat Guy.
The photo above was taken at my 25 year high school reunion. Scott flew out to take me and have a bit of a vacation. We had a great time wandering around San Diego, eating at D.Z. Akin’s — giant pastrami sandwiches, followed by a decadent napoleon. Afterward, we headed down to Sunset Beach to watch crazy people jump into the ocean in a very rocky area. CRAZY crazy people. Both of us shook our heads and blamed “youth” for the insanity.
We talked as we watched, laughed a lot, and basically had a good time. Then, we headed off to a park to watch a local rockabilly band play. Luckily, it tickled Scott that we’d survived the knot of streets in that part of town in order to find the park, listen to the band, and then walk around and look at very old grave markers in the corner of the park (it was once a cemetery in just a small section and even though the bodies had been moved, the markers remained for the sake of history). “Graveyard park and people dancing to live music 30 feet away — that’s perfect!” And we laughed about it.
When the night of my reunion came around, Scott was a great date. He entertained me, he entertained my friends, and when he saw I was pretty much over the entire thing, he was cool about us going to a local bar for a bit of decompression. Of course, half the people from the reunion showed up there, too. We laughed and enjoyed ourselves until it was time to go. He had an early flight and I had to get home and pray for no hangover.
That was the one and only trip I got to spend with the legendary Fat Guy and it was great. I missed him the moment I closed the car door and walked into my apartment. I didn’t think it would be the last time I would see him, though. He’d promised we’d someday go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras or for Jazz Fest. Even all these years later, I figured King Arthur and I would pick him up on our way to NOLA and hold him to that experience. Now, when I do finally get there, it’ll be in his memory.
Thanks to whoever it was who first introduced us via blogging. And thanks to his ex-wife Cindy who was the other half of that angel team. They were always so kind and funny and lovely people. I know Cindy, her family, and Scott’s family are still grieving their loss and I feel for them. When good people leave this earth, they leave a void that can never truly be filled.
Scott, set up one of your incredible music and food festivals where you are now. You got plenty of talent up there keeping you company and I’m sure those who are up there with you would appreciate it. Look for Rob and Mikey. Look for my Grandfather, he’ll join in on a jam, I’m sure. Rest in peace and pleasure, my friend.
Goodbye, Scott Chaffin. We’ll never forget you.