Thursday, July 17, 2008
My friend, Craig Harlan
Friends. We all have them. Some closer than others, but still friends, nonetheless. Good friends, TRUE friends are hard to come by. They are the ones that you can call on at any time, day or night, and they'll give you the shirt off their back if you ask them. Always there to listen to your stories and to support you in good times and in bad throughout your life. So let me tell you about my TRUE friend, Craig Harlan.
Craig and I became friends about 9 years ago when he wandered into the magic shop. A child psychologist by profession who always had an interest in magic, Craig thought it would be a great icebreaker working with his young patients. He became a quick study and devoted student to the art of magic. Almost every afternoon, as his schedule allowed, he'd stop by the shop to check out the latest trick, book, or video/DVD. He loved to read anything he got his hands on, and so the books were always the preferred choice. He was a voracious reader and a real sponge. You could always count on Craig to sit in the front row for all lectures and magical events held at Hocus Pocus. Come to think of it, I cannot recall one that he missed... It's funny how his life and mine paralleled; much of the same incidents happening to the both of us.
Several years ago, when it was paramount that I lose my weight, Craig was instrumental in helping me do so. Constantly calling and checking in with me, Craig always monitored my health and took an active interest in my well-being. One of the favorite things he's like to do was go to the Magic Castle, and last October, when he and Deborah went with Betty and me, we all had a great time.
Betty and I with Deborah and Craig along with Chuck Kirchner at the Castle last year
You may remember that in June of last year, Craig was battling cancer. At the time, Craig's prognosis looked good. In fact, after chemotherapy, Craig came into the shop frequently and chatted magic with me almost once per week. He even took a trip to Europe with his girlfriend, Deborah, and everything was looking up.
Unfortunately, it wasn't to be; the cancer returned. A long, hard fight Craig had, and the last few weeks, he was in tremendous pain and had to be hospitalized. When Betty and I visited him, as heavily drugged as he was, he still hadn't lost his sense of humor or positive outlook.
Last Thursday, Craig's battle with cancer ended and I lost a good friend to this horrible disease. It's still hard for me to believe. He was only 2 years older than me - 54 years-old and still had so much he wanted to do. It's times like this that really put our lives into perspective. I have promised myself to do all the things I still want to do, including spending more time with those close to me: family and friends. Especially, I am also trying not to take things for granted in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Even though our friendship was short, I learned a lot from Craig and still continue to do so. In fact, he has given me an incredible gift, and I plan on using and sharing that gift as much as possible. I'll miss his surprise visits to the shop and his head popping into my office door with his list of products and books he would ask me about. The funny stories we shared (especially about our kids) I'll always remember and cherish.
So don't sweat the small stuff. Get on the phone to your friend and say hi. Share those stories and moments and store them in your memory banks. My friend may be gone, but he'll never be forgotten.
So long, old friend.
Until next week,