Tuesday, March 01, 2011

My Friend

Some friends in life capture your attention by riveting your mind and heart as if they were a spectacular comet exploding through the sky and bursting upon the horizon.

Larry Steur was not that guy.

He was the gentle rain cloud that would softly descend upon a dry land, quietly coaxing flower petals to life, to open wide and soak up the rays of the morning sun.

Larry was the reason art and music existed. He was the audience. He was the applause. Larry was the happy man with a camera on the third row at festivals and concert halls all over America. My friend had a wide-eyed fascination with life, but he never took center stage. He never stepped into a spot light. Instead, Larry would carry the spotlight into the balcony so others could be seen by it. He was a kind, generous, wonderful, loving, forgiving, innocent, musical and passionate friend.

His passion was inspiring. So much so that, when I wrote the Walden play, I gave his last name to the character of Rachel Steur. It seemed to fit.

Larry was in the front row the day we started WoodSongs.

This past Monday night, Larry was still in the front row of WoodSongs, clicking away on his camera as he did every week. He was chatty and excited because I asked him if he would like to pick Emmylou Harris up at the airport when she arrived in a couple of weeks. And I will forever treasure the look on his face when, at the end of the broadcast, Dorothy Edwards announced on the show credits that "...our WoodSongs Crew member of the week is the incredibly handsome Larry Steur ..." and he stood there with that massive grin, smiling cheek to cheek.

My last words to Larry happened after the show, patting him on the back and telling him "thank you" as he lifted a speaker off the stand, helping pack up and put away the broadcast gear ... the way he did every single week.

This morning he passed away. It was a quiet sunny morning, springtime softly stroking the earth awake as he energetically executed his power-walk through his neighborhood in Lexington with his friend and walking buddy Mitchell.

He didn't know that today would be his final walk. He didn't know that today would be his final morning.

But it was a sunny morning. He was with his friend. He was moving fast the way he loved to do. And, heck, he was even looking forward to hanging out with Emmylou Harris!

Larry left us the way he lived: grinning ear-to-ear.

I shall miss my friend always.

Michael Johnathon