A childhood friend of mine died this week…and I’ve been incredibly bummed. I haven’t really talked to him in years. Regrets? Maybe?
I don’t want to talk about how bummed I am…instead, I’m just going to take this space to write a little about him. You can skip this blog post if you like…this is pretty much just for me…
I met Kendall in 1976, when I moved to Brandon, Mississippi in 6th grade. I met him at the same time I met Mike Harris and Wynndel Stanton. They were already friends. Mike lived two houses down from me, Wynndel two houses from him, and Kendall behind Wynndel on the street behind.
Kendall was the first to ever call me by the nickname “Rolo.” The candy bar had their annoyingly popular add that contained the lyrics “you can roll a Rolo to your pal,” and Kendall used to sing that to me frequently. Many have used it since, but Kendall was the first.
Kendall had the most “elastic” skin I had/have ever seen, but it was also fragile (don’t know how else to describe it). He would often pull it up to demonstrate to us just how elastic it was. But we also spent a lot of time outside those days, in the woods, at the creek, etc., the smallest thing could break his skin and make him bleed.
Once, probably around the 4th of July, Forrest Welker placed a firecracker in Kendall’s hoodie. Kendall caught wind something was happening and flipped his hoodie up to get away, only to have the firecracker explode next to the skin on his upper back. Yep—blood.
Kendall was part of the first band I was ever in. Ever. We were a band before we know how to play instruments. One year a bunch of us got instruments we could not play but wanted to…and formed a band: me on drums, Kendall on guitar, Mike Harris on guitar, Scott Cook on keyboards and Wynndel Stanton on bass. Forrest Welker was our “manager.” We got together and “jammed” a lot. We were terrible, but we were learning to play together. Mike moved to Germany the summer of ’79 and then we began to get a little better.
We began to actually perform in various places, mostly local churches. Kendall wrote the first original song our band ever performed—I can still sing MOST of the words today.
We used to camp out on top of a water tower. Yep. The whole lot of us. Kendall was usually the first to climb up lugging a rope that he would tie up and toss down. Others would climb up behind him and someone on the ground would then tie all our stuff (sleeping backs, coolers, etc) to the other end and they’d haul it to the top. We spent many nights on top of that tower and saw some pretty awesome sights. Scott Cook has the greatest collection of photos from there and I’m trying to get those from him.
Mill Creek ran behind Kendall’s house and we spent a lot of time messing around in the creek: riding bikes in it, shooting snakes and turtles with our bb guns and other such outside playing.
Kendall was the first person I ever remember playing tennis with. He played at the Millcreek club frequently and I almost never did, but tried to play some. He beat the snot out of me.
Kendall moved the summer of ‘80. I saw him when he came for a visit sometime after…but that was pretty much the last time of any note…and this was all before email and facebook and such. I didn’t even know he’d moved back to Mississippi.
I could go on…
Godspeed Kendall. Thank you for so many great childhood memories.