The first call came in as we were walking out of the house last Friday, heading to Macon for a New Year's party.
E.D. Thompson, a man who a week or so earlier had been sitting in my kitchen, was dead.
Hours later, as we sat playing poker and waiting to ring in 2005, the second call came in. My mom, her voice cracking, said simply: "We lost a city police officer today. It's 103, Richard Redd."
Talk about a one-two punch to the gut.
I first met Mr. E.D. many years ago, when Miriam and I first started dating and she'd take me to Sweetwater. He and "Miss" Anne were always there, armed with a firm handshake and a warm smile, just to make sure any visitors always felt welcome. And I always did.
And then last week, as people walked through my house, Mr. E.D. took a seat on a chair and leaned on the bar in my kitchen. We talked a little bit, laughed a little bit, and that was it.
Days later, Miriam and I were a little slack-jawed as we drove toward Macon. Mr. E.D. was a good man, a family man and a Godly man.
And he'll certainly be missed.
As will Richard Redd.
I first met the Thomson police officer several years ago at one of the first golf tournaments organized to help out the late McDuffie Sheriff's Deputy Rudy Foster. I signed up to play in the tournament alone and was assigned to Richard's team. We cruised around Belle Meade, shot a far-from-memorable score and just plain had a good time.
That's pretty much the way I always saw Redd -- smiling and having a good time.
He was a foot soldier in one of the noblest professions and worked hard to make time for his family and make his community better.
It's hard to say goodbye -- especially when you don't get the chance. But times like this we don't have a choice.
Goodbye guys. May God bless your families and may you rest in eternal peace.