Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It's Over My Head Cam

Ironically the last time that I saw Cam Fyke was at the funeral of another schoolmate this past summer. We hugged and had a few quick laughs and today I am saying farewell. He was only 46 years young, the same age as my father when he passed away.

Cam and I shared a lot of laughs and we went to the same Elementary, Junior High and High Schools and College. He had an older brother who was my age but for whatever reason Cam and I clicked. He had the longest eyelashes in the world, he was the most Parent-Friendly guy that I ever hung out with, he politely laughed at every word that I said and he was totally laid back.
He never once gave me a moment's grief.

When another friend phoned to tell me the awful news I remembered three specific, moments in time that I spent with Cam.

The first is a foggy account of my decision to show up at his Parent's house late one summer evening wearing only a case of beer. After closing down a local watering hole and a refreshing swim in my Parent's pool, a guy nicknamed 'Dirty ' and I decided that it would be fun to go to Fykes and play Billiards. So after making a quick call to Cam we hopped in the car and drove the three blocks down familiar back lanes (it was the 70s) wearing only our birthday suits and runners (Dirty reminded me that it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle in bare feet..isn't it weird which particulars stick in your memory).
I know how gay this sounds (not that there's anything wrong with that) but believe me it was only the miracle of chemistry at work. CH3CH2OH + Testosterone = DUH!.

Upon arrival I rang the bell and Cam opened the door laughing his goofy laugh and mentioned that it was our good fortune that his parents were at the Lake. He welcomed us in and we had just started playing Billiards when another group of revelers waltzed into the house..huzzah! now we had enough people for a real Billiard tournament..
Cam and I actually played a lot of pool at the local watering hole on Saturdays. He was good at it. I was terrible...and I think thats why he liked playing with me.

Summers at The Lake of the Woods in Ontario were always fun back in the 70s and I remembered one beautiful summer night when Cam and I were putting around in the boat on our way to crash a HUGE party..it seems to me that the hosts might have been Bikers there for the annual Smoke and Fish Derby..it was somebody that we didn't know anyway.

When we finally reached the Bay where the Cottage was we slowly cruised towards the dock. We could see that there were tons of people (just silhouettes from where we were) and the music was very loud.

When we were still quite a considerable distance from the dock I heard a big splash and remarked that the fish were jumping. About a second later there was another big splash right beside the boat. Cam said that we should come back tomorrow and fish here. Then thwack! A beer bottle hit the boat. We started laughing at each other when we realised that some assholes on the dock were throwing empties at us. I guess you had to be there. Anyway we decided to find another party and off we went puttering around until the sun came up.

Cam flew a plane (how cool is that!) out to Brandon where I was working as a TV Producer. I was about to make a new series of commercials for the Keg Restaurant and I needed some help in casting local talent. Cam thought that would be fun so he flew in for the weekend as we desperately researched the local talent pool in search of young ladies with the right qualities.
Good Times.

Today I will see many old familiar faces and despite the sombre occasion we will talk about the good old days and bolster each other with levity.

Cam leaves behind four young lives who will look at this day from a completely different viewpoint...one that I had to painfully endure myself as a young man back in 1980.

I understand the grief that will be shared by his very special lady who my sister knows quite well, Cam's parents who were always so kind to me, his brother Terry, and all of the other relatives.

Cam, I can't see you but you are still inside me..somewhere... because I can still hear you laughing.

Hug a friend today, email someone that you haven't talked to for a while, smile at a stranger.



  1. As long as we keep someones memory alive within us. They never truly leave us. Honour them, but do not weep. For they have given us joy, and the best part of themselves. The loss of a friend envokes much grief. It is not their death that we should remember, but their life.

  2. What a beautiful eulogy. I'm sure Cam had a happy life because he had you for a friend.


  3. Anonymous8:36 a.m.

    It is a wonderful eulogy. I'm so sorry. 46 is far too young to leave this life.

  4. oh no. is this some kind of theme, or what? ANd I loudly disagree with the naked guy. Weep, and honour them.

  5. nekked nerd,
    I try to do that..I have had a lot of practice, too much really, and at times I really marvel at how the ball bounces. No rhyme, no reason.

    chaucer's bitsh,
    We did have an inordinate meausre of laughs when we were together. The saddest part is that you realise how amazing school life really was..
    it is not a microcosm of society it is a trip to Disneyland...
    I hate how we lose touch with so many people after school..
    I see why people call it the best time of our lives..
    but there are a few key ingredients missing during those years..
    but hey like everything else it is what you make it.

    laura e,
    It sure is too young. Now that I am 48 I can appreciate how young my Dad was when he passed away. I see all of these school chums with teenager children and I just think OMG...no wonder all of those people kept talking about how young that is...just as they will today.

    We all deal with death in different ways..and we all weep. I think that NN is talking about keeping the memory alive by talking about how much fun we had with that person...keep them in the present tense.
    Death is a tricky thing and many people do not deal well with it. I am much calmer about it having passed my benchmark..I wasted years worrying that I would expire at the same age as my Dad. Now I realise that Life is too random for that...although genetics do have a way of leveling out those odds...damnit!

  6. Can't recall if I met him or not, HE, but that's a great tribute to him.

    I'm sure he's lookin' down laughing with you at all those good times.

  7. Sorry for your loss Donn of a good friend. Thats all that needs to be said for now.

  8. Oh, HE...I'm sorry to hear of your loss. Part of what makes us live are the people with whom we make our friend-families. In a lot of ways they are more important to us than our blood-families, because we can choose them. The reasons we choose our friend-families are many, and varied. Mostly, I think because we can be our true selves.
    46 is so young! As I get older I realize that my mother was still very young at 50 when she passed. At the time we don't see it. My partner is 51 now. That strikes me to the heart, since I know that anyone can go at any time. We can't choose.

    You will always have your memories. Cherish them, as I know you will. I wish all of you well, including his family and other friends.

  9. I love what you wrote here Donn. I can tell that the thoughts were flowing easily. Good times.

    Overhead Cam...it's better than being a pushRod.

  10. It's great that you have such wonderful memories of Cam. Keep them close and treasure them.

  11. That was beautiful my sweet friend. I am soo sorry for your loss... and his family's loss. It breaks my heart to think of what his children must be going through. My thoughts are with you and may he be fine wherever he is... I have no doubt that he is!

  12. This is supposed to be the funny blog I read. Stop making me cry.

  13. withered out,
    It really burns my ass when good guys have to leave when there are so many well deserving assholes still marching around.

    Well I can't help but think about those kids and how big an impact this is going to be on their lives.
    I am sooo mad today. The service was wonderful, packed to the rafters and I cried my eyes out during the speeches and photo tribute. F*ck I am so angry about this bullsh*t!

    You know because my Dad died so young I have thought about death for so long that it has lost it's terror. I am not really doing anything drastic to prolong my life other than relaxing and enjoying the people around me and knowing that when my number gets called that's it...and I do not want to linger.

    It was easy because Cam was so easy to get along with. Seriously he was so gentle and relaxing to be around.

  14. Touching, funny and clever -- and he was way too young. Maybe it's my morbid mind or maybe it's because I'm too close to his age for comfort -- but what caused the transition from Underfoot Cam to Overhead Cam? (If you missed it, that was my pathetic attempt to be clever.)

  15. Ah, I'm sorry. 46 seems so young. It's nice that this post talks of the fun you two had, living for the moment.

  16. beautifully worded HE, words fail me...
    I could say something soppy such as they will always live on in memory, or he is gone to a better place. Hollow words.. The truth is it hurts.
    The pain eventually passes then what is left is the stupid moments, the great times, moments that will always make you smile.. Cry for your friend, but celebrate the life that he had, and the connections you had.

    46 is too young, still so much potential. lay ahead.. it makes you appreciate how truly fragile and beautiful life is.

    Look after yourself HE... if you need a mate or a sympathetic ear


  17. ok Im crying now...Im so sorry HE! HUGGGGGGGGGGGGGGZ!

    **Upon arrival I rang the bell and Cam opened the door laughing his goofy laugh

    that line touched me so much...feels like I know Cam myself.

    He's in you for sure. Cos u met each other in this life. And when u meet someone and become friends like that, u can never undo that.

    My prayers r with Cam's family. 46 is too young and my dad died at 44.

    Im bakk from my break in NZ.

  18. It's great that you have those memories of him. I don't know what else to say. Thankfully I've never had to deal with anything like that (yet).

  19. btw I forgot to tell u that Cam is a HUNK. How did he die HE?


  20. That was so beautiful and touching. I'm very sorry for your loss. My sympathies especially go out to his family.

  21. Can't add anything else to what's been written here by everyone so I might as well tell you... that the Sydney clock on the right hand side of the page is an hour slow -daylight saving has started :).

  22. ** Cam, I can't see you but you are still inside me...somewhere...because I can still hear you laughing.**

    Cam will always be inside of you HE!
    I am so sorry about the loss of your friend!
    Much too young to be gone!
    This was a beautiful tribute!
    Sending lotsa Hugs!


  23. ms.val,
    I do have fun memories and they will always be there to draw upon.
    I just hope that his children get a handle on how much he loved them and that they will somehow take something positive from this. For me it was knowing that having a great father for a short time is better than having the opposite for a long time.

    mizzie bohemia,
    Yes wherever he is..as an agnostic I have a bit of a conundrum to deal with concerning the afterlife.
    While it is hard to erase half a lifetime of indoctrination about heaven I wrestle with the possibility that our energy or spirit dissolves into the great unknown. I have yet to establish any concrete idea about the next world...bit of a sticky wicket...I do know that you can keep a person alive in your imagination and for now that is all that I have to work with.

    sorry mate...at my stage in life these things seem to percolate to the forefront..the whole circle of life thing becomes a regular occurence...you see everyone's parents getting older..friend's children are getting married and starting families...you have to slow down and start smelling the flowers..and not just the bouquets at weddings and funerals.

  24. andrea,
    Ha! My feeble punny line about the whole circle of life thing being over my head was an honest statement. It really burns my ass that there are so many humans that are a complete waste of amino acids somehow stay under the grim reaper's radar..aaarrrgghh!

    Yes we certainly did manage to squeeze out a lot of fun during those carefree years..I always enjoyed Cam because he was one of those even keel guys...and you know that there aren't many of them around.

    thanks aidan,
    I wish that I didn't have to write about this and I appreciate your offer. The sad truth is that once you have a family and you get on the treadmill of life you lose touch with a lot of your old friends..and some of them change..Cam didn't and I really appreciate the times that we did have together. He was one of those guys where you picked up where you left off in a millisecond.

    Welcome back from Kiwiland. I know that you and I share the unfortunate situation of having lost our fathers far too soon. It is hard to describe to others how that feels. The good news is that we both had fantastic Dads and even though they left early (and we know that they didn't choose to go) it is a fantastic feeling to have wonderful memories..so many people have bloody awful parents that it makes you shake your head and wonder why some people even have children.
    Thanks for your kind words.

  25. andonthatnoteblogger,
    Enjoy your youth my friend you will get there soon enough. Quit worrying about the minute details and look at the big picture.
    I know that when I was your age I felt fairly immortal and impervious to the dark side.
    Find something that you love to do and the rest will fall into place.

    He did have the longest eyelashes in the world..I am serious..I am talking Giraffe-like eyelashes.
    The family did not say but he died in the hospital surrounded by his family.

    Thanks. I wish that there was something more that I could do but this is my little way of saying I will miss you..it's always a good idea to talk things through.

    DOH! We changed our clocks too I should have thought of that.
    One of my oldest friends lives in Melbourne, my oldest daughter's 'bestie' is staying in a hostel there as we speak (she's on a walkabout downunda) plus fellow bloggers stace, aidan and cazzie live there, so I suppose that I should correct the time..

    it so weird that you are having your Spring..hard to wrap my head around how big this world really is.

    Hi margie,
    Someday I might just try to write a decent poem about friendship..as tidalgrrrl said friendships are a unique experience that we get to choose...sometimes you get lucky and it makes all of the difference in the world...and real friends never relly leave you, ever.
    I am turning into such a sentimental old fool so I had better do it sooner rather than later.

  26. HE, I'm sorry you lost your friend at such an early age, and that he leaves behind a family that needed him very much.

    I have a question though, if you ran around in your birthday suit so much when you were young, how come there isn't a picture of you like WW's (bare assed) that could be shared with your readers?

  27. yeah both our dads must be smiling down on us. and hell yeah we r lucky to have had FANTASTIC dads!

    Cam does look like he had great features. What a hunk!


  28. oh carmie!
    You see I got all of my nudey-tooty shenanigans out of my system when I was young (and still had a V shaped torso).
    It just wouldn't be the same if I did it now...although come to think of it.. I did engage in a game of NUDE Trivial Pursuit a few years ago at my neighbours house...hmmm.
    Anyway WW needs to find a ladyfriend so he is busy pulling out all the stops and I say
    "GO Get'Em Tiger!"

    That is a beautiful image of our Fathers...wouldn't that be something.
    Cam was a handsome devil..I am serious you would not have thought that it was humanly possible to have eyelashes like that.

  29. Agree with you Donn, seems like they got the wrong man yet again. A worthy eulogy.

  30. 46 is no age to go but we can't do anything about it.That was a great eulogy. He is still alive in your heart. That's what matters.

    We can't have happy memories without the sad ones.

  31. hi richard,
    Yes it is very distressing..I have no idea how the reaper operates. Maybe it is because he doesn't get any mail like Santa or the Easter Bunny? The Bastard!

    You are right about the mix of happy/sad...but I do not prefer to dwell on the what ifs when I can enjoy the when thats...and you are right when you say that 46 is much too soon...halfway.

  32. he must be charming the angels now.

    RIP Cam!


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