|About a year and a half ago, Scott died of a heart attack at the age of 53. He was my best friend since college, and he was someone who made everyone feel special. At his funeral, a daughter of one of our friends summed him up best: “When Scott came into a party and you heard his voice, you smiled knowing he was there.”
He went to California to play college football, but like many, ended up back home at The University of Memphis, where we witnessed each other coming into our own. He would always say, “Hart, you are a genius with a capital J.”
Scott and I valued our collection of friends. To be one of those friends, a person had to make you think, laugh, or have your best interests at heart. Scott did all three.
Once we became old enough to know who we were and what we valued, the importance of old friendships grew to mean more than money, jobs and all that life threw at us. Our families and five others vacationed in the Destin area for 20 years; he loved the Gulf Coast.
Scott was the best kind of friend; he could be your strongest critic and your biggest proponent at the same time. He always admired you behind your back, but somehow you knew. A good friend will only get in your way if you are going in the wrong direction.
He grew up with rough and tumble brothers, so he could argue vehemently with you one moment and buy you a drink the next. He never held grudges; he forgave and forgotan important human trait essential for long-term relationships.
In the two weekends before he died, we went on golf trips; one with my son to Merion and another with a group to The Honors. In truth, it could have been a public, state park course; in fact that would have actually been more fun, since he would have been able to play his Stone Temple Pilots on his Putman-programmed iPod from the golf cartloudwhile we played, and he never missed the chance to belt out the lyrics he thought he knew.
Scott could hit a drive 300 yards and his 95-yard sand wedge just as far on his approach shot. In golf, he was only as happy as his last shot. We both had ADD, but somehow we grew calmer in each other’s presence. Memphians, fond of their hunting, would always try to get us to go with them to enjoy “their patient sport.” Scott would say, “Hunting is not a sport, Junior. A sport is where both sides know they are participating.”
He loved his Memphis Tiger basketball. Coach Josh Pastner came to his memorial golf tournament at Chickasaw last year (an annual event to raise money for Street Ministries); Scott would have been pleased. He was visibly shaken when former Memphis coach John Calipari coached his way out of a 9-point lead with two minutes to go in the National Championship game. He said that for days he would walk down the hall, see his son, Gregory, and not be able to make eye contact.
During Tigers games, he sat behind the opponents’ bench, riding the opposing team’s coaches. His favorite was Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins, who always dressed like a lookout for a massage parlor. Scott would give him an old-fashioned tongue lashing, and then as the Tigers scored he would yell, “How about that, Mr. S & K three-piece suit?!”
It was amazing to see how people came together and attended his funeral. He used to say, “No matter how important you think you are, attendance at your funeral will depend a crap load on the weather.” Scott would have said about his funeral in his faux-bravado, “This is not about me; it is about what you think of me.”
Scott loved his wife, his family, and his friends, and he made Memphis a better place. He was a sweet soul. He always left the campground cleaner than he found it. I’ll always miss him.
Ron Hart, a libertarian syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author & TV/radio commentator can be reached at Ron@RonaldHart.com or visit www.RonaldHart.com.