Friday, November 2, 2012

I Guess This is Growing Up

Two nights ago, Charlie Harris died. We graduated together from Scituate High in 2008. I didn't know Chuck as well as a lot of people did, and I hadn't seen him in a few years. Even still, Chuck Harris was one of the most memorable and outgoing kids that I ever met, and he will be truly missed.

My friend Cory and I still bust out Chuck's version of "Purple Haze," in which Chuck made up his own ridiculous lyrics while we were all in middle school guitar class together. For anyone who was in that class and remembers the lyrics, you can understand why I'm hesitant to put them down here. Chuck was truly a larger-than-life personality.

He was always the biggest dude in the class, and carried himself that way. He was loud, abrasive, and rude, as only the biggest clown in the class can be. He was also witty, streetwise, and oftentimes downright hilarious. Chuck and I ran in different circles, and I wouldn't call us friends in the true sense of the word, but he was one of those people who would always have a head nod and a "What's up, Vogel?" ready, whenever we happened to cross paths.

He was one of the most genuine people I have ever met. Even from afar, I could tell that he took no BS from anyone, and always said and did exactly what he meant. This is an exceedingly rare quality in someone who grows up in a town like Scituate, where the peer pressure is the way it is. Chuck was a magnaminous person, and he attracted attention and friends like honey draws bees.

Chuck Harris will be deeply missed. Of course, by his friends and loved ones. He has a son, also named Charlie, who will have to grow up without the lighthearted smile and goofy laughter of his father. But Chuck will be missed by everyone who knew him, as well. He was simply a legend, one of those people who everyone knew, and one of the few key people that sort of held our graduating class together in some way.

He was also a true Scituate townie. Chuck was one of the people that made me love our town as much as I do. I knew that Chuck would be there, working at the docks and drinking with his buddies and family at TK's, for as long as I wished to call this place home.

Sometime in the future, if I ever brought my family out to dinner at TK's, or for a walk along Front Street, and we saw a redheaded burly smiling giant of a man, I could say that I graduated high school with that dude. Watched him crush smaller kids on the football field. Laughed with him about his ridiculous antics in middle school. And he could have given me a head nod, and a "What up, Vogel?" And maybe even stopped and said hi to my kids.. And I would have said, as he walked away, that he was one of the legends of our town. A guy who always had a second for everyone, even if it was to give them a punch on the shoulder.

I didn't know Chuck Harris as well as a lot of people did. I understand that. But I guess I thought that he would always just be around, being his large and goofy self. I guess you're never ready when something like this happens, even to someone who you haven't seen in years.

I guess this is growing up.

Rest easy, Chuck.

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