Saddest deaths are least expected

Published 10:58 am Wednesday, June 22, 2005

By By Lee Weyhrich
If you're looking for a funny column you should probably look elsewhere, I can't do it today. I don't feel like it.
Friday morning I got the news that my cousin Tracy had been murdered. I'm still not sure of the details. I don't guess they really matter, the outcome is the same.
None of you knew him, he wasn't from around here. That's not why I'm writing this.
Tracy was 35 years old, I remember him sitting quietly in the corner of the living room on the arm of an old gold-colored couch or rocking quietly in Grandaddy's old Lay-z-Boy when I was little.
And I'll remember him lying in a coffin, wearing long sleeves and a baseball cap to cover up the wounds.
I remember him catching snakes and letting us pet them, grinning as the snake wrapped around his wrist. I had never seen a snake outside of a TV or the old Illustrated Bible storybook. Certainly not up close. But he would catch them for us to see.
I remember how proud he was of his new rifle, a Remington 300. The rifle could blow a hole through a quarter at 300 yards. Tracy was lucky to hit a Coke can at less than 100.
He didn't have a gun with him the night of his death, even a pocketknife. He sold his rifle a year or two ago. He was unarmed and some monster stabbed him three times in the back.
When Tracy turned to defend himself he received five more knife wounds, mostly on his arms. His nose was broken and so was his hand.
I remember how he would open up a fresh can of Copenhagen and wave it under my nose, "smell that," he'd say. It was like Pepto Bismol and mint.
His brother Adam, the closest thing I've ever had to a brother, put a fresh can of Copenhagen in the pocket of Tracy's shirt while he lay in the casket. The first thing through my mind was Pepto Bismol and Mint. It made me sick to my stomach. This whole thing does.
I remember when Tracy bought a new pickup and put a sound system in that filled up the entire space behind and beneath the seat.
It was LOUD. I remember him running his hands across that giant speaker box behind the seat and grinning.
I remember that, but I'll never forget the way his mother's hand slid across his closed coffin as the funeral director wheeled his body out of the church where I grew up.
Tracy had a sense of humor that was disarming, he could find something funny about just about any subject. He was a hard worker and didn't ask for much in return.
He used to help my dad and me put up new barbwire fence and do other jobs around the farm. A co-worker of his at Heil, (a company that builds trucks) said that without him around they had a hard time getting anything done.
He certainly didn't deserve to be stabbed eight times, but then who does?
Life's not fair, that's what people say. Death's not fair either. It would be nice to now that, eventually, we're all going to go to sleep peacefully one night and wake up the next morning in Heaven.
But not everyone is that lucky.
Lee Weyhrich is the Managing Editor of the Atmore Advance. His column appears weekly

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