A few days ago I shared the news that a fellow sci-fi writer, and a good friend too, Gibson Michaels, had died suddenly in his home near Houston, Texas. It was a hammer blow to his family and friends.
We were going to meet up in Santa Barbara this Thursday, he was scheduled to be in town for a conference and I live about an hour away. I am sure Thursday at 9 a.m., when I am sitting at my desk here instead of at the restaurant in Santa Barbara where we were going to meet, is going to be a sad time for me.
Then yesterday I got word that another friend had passed, a long-term illness finally overcoming his well-fought battle to beat it back. This news was just as sad, though not as much a shock, since we’d had warning that his health was failing.
Still, losing two good friends in such a short amount of time is hard to take. Ron Sarhad was an attorney, a veteran of the Vietnam War like Gibson was, and I met him back in 2013 when I began researching From The Fields.
Ron was the starting quarterback for the 1957 State Championship football team from Turlock High School. He was a valuable resource for information and access to other former players whose stories enriched the final version of the book.
He was also a valued and ardent supporter of From The Fields. His first response, when I called him and told him I was writing a book about the history of football played at Turlock High, from the first ever game in 1920 to present day, was classic Ron Sarhad:
“It’s about damn time someone did,” he said.
Plans to commemorate the 1957 team in Turlock on Oct. 6th during halftime of the Turlock vs Golden Valley game were already in the works with Ron expected to be a big part of it. It won’t be the same without him, although I’m sure he’ll be there in spirit.
But it will be another day that a planned meeting will not happen, another day that I am reminded of a friend taken away.
And I am starting to tire of taking roll call and hearing fewer calls of “here” in response.