This morning I read shocking news in the local paper, the death of a friend. Not just any friend, but those kind that are old and dear to everyone: a classmate. I live in Georgia, small town USA! Where from Middle School on you better like everyone because you all go to the same school ’til you graduate! Friends throughout eternity even if we only see each other every 10 years or so.
I have thought about Tony all day today. I can still hear his snickering behind me, the same way I did every school day from 8th through 12th grades. I can still hear see his big ole cheesy grin and see his curly headed hat wearing self as if it were yesterday. You see growing up I was not your average everyday teenager. Nope, not me, I didn’t grow an inch until after I graduated HIGH SCHOOL! What in the world you say? Yep it’s true! I was the smallest, skinniest, nerdiest kid in school. And who are the little kids intimidated by? The biggestest; hang with me now. Who was the biggest kid at our school? You guessed it; Tony Furr! I mean he had a full beard in 7th grade and had to be at least 6 foot tall to boot! My maiden name was Fuller so guess where Tony sat? In alphabetical order directly behind me! Talk about intimidated, Dale Earnhart had nothin’ on this boy! WHOOOOWEE! My first day of middle school we came into class and when he passed by my desk all I could think of was no, not behind me, no please not behind me. PLOP! There he sat in his assigned seat right behind me!!!!! Through out the years, Tony had tied my extremely long hair in knots, hid my book bag, and picked on me relentlessly. All of which I could take, because what I had was my own personal body guard! This humongous beast of a boy was nothing more than an over-sized teddy bear who for 6 years had my back. I have laughed to myself all day at the funny stuff he said or did. The thing that has made me giggle over and over was when he got assigned the locker under mine. Everyday for a school year he had to bend down to get his stuff and I practically had to stand on him to get to mine! We giggled a lot over that, I mean really every teacher knew us and still chose to give him the bottom locker! So here’s to you Anthony “Tony” Furr Jr., may you rest in peace my friend! Thanks for the memories!