Hunter Lydiard Bargeron
I was wandering around the Internet the other day and decided to look up my old friend Hunter from the USMC. I’d lost touch with him in the mid-eighties when my life Chernobyled after an ugly divorce. I’d periodically looked for him on-line since the late nineties, but with no luck. He was a pretty active guy, not someone who would spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer, so no surprise. Well, a few nights ago I finally located him on-line. Or to be more accurate, I located his obituary. He died in 2009.
I was devastated. Hunter was one of those people who was larger than life, in every sense of the word. We shared a barracks room for the better part of a year while we served in the USMC at El Paso in the late seventies. Hunter was always up for a road trip or a camping trip or an adventure of any kind, and we had many. Everyone liked him, and those who got to know him, admired him. He was a force of nature, and one of the most honest forthright people I ever knew. He was a good man.
We were sent to different bases in California after missile school, and some time passed before we ran across each other again on a training exercise. That night we stayed up half the night drinking beer on a golf course and catching up, he was that kind of friend, someone you knew would be a friend for life. I saw him a few times a year after that, spent some time visiting him in Pasedena. Hunter’s love of live was infectious, a lesson I am still learning from him.
I last saw him when we (me and my then wife) drove him and his motorcycle from California to the East Coast. A trip not without its’ tale. He was a friend who had my back, he showed it on that trip. Then our lives took different paths, but I never forgot him. And in fact figured that some day our paths would cross again, we’d hoist a few brews, and catch up. Not gonna happen now.
Now I know why the afterlife life holds such an appeal for people. I’ve lost loved ones before, but never lost one where I felt that I’d do anything to see them again. I don’t think there’s another side, but if there is, I know the big guy is holding a good seat for me at the bar. And while I don’t believe in an afterlife, we can keep those who have passed alive in our hearts and minds. As long as I live, I will keep Hunter’s memory alive. He deserves no less.
“Hunter Lydiard Bargeron….1955-2009….he was fun while he lasted”
That was his self chosen epitaph. It fits. Skol my old friend, you left a hole that can never be filled.
(I’m pretty sure it’s OK to use Hunter’s image above, but the usual claim to Fair Use under US copyright law is made. There will likely be a future post or two where I write about Hunter and his time out west, it’s what I do.)