Monday, February 23, 2015

Wilbo Risks a Noogie at Gilda's Club in Grand Rapids @PureMichigan, and Remembers a Friend.

Well, if Gilda says it's okay to wait for a half hour at Gilda's Club Grand Rapids, it must be okay. What would the staff do if I were unwelcome? Give me a nuggie? Oh, I hate when that happens. One of my friends attended a circle dedicated to men fighting bone cancer. He liked the group because he could learn about new treatments and cutting edge research. He had an excellent mind and he designed all the business systems that my employer still uses everyday. He could turn out a solution to a reporting issue in less than afternoon, accomplishing in a day what required a week to accomplish. After a bone marrow transplant at the Mayo Clinic and the long, vulnerable convalescence afterwards, he returned to work and worked hard to catch up on his medical bills. He was still working, visiting the office three days a week, when Cancer claimed him. It's good to remember him because he had a say in hiring me eight years ago. He also could help me solve a programming challenge in ten minutes or less. I miss that kind of teamwork between us.

On the side table, there's a stack of LaughFest programs. After this long, cold winter, we all deserve big laughs and small giggles, big name comics and newbie upstarts. Many shows are offered without a door charge. Time to discover who I want to hear.

When I visited his family at the funeral home near the Fruitport Golf Course, I learned a fact that explained why he programmed so fast. His children had created a slide show, my friend holding grandchildren and yachting on the Great Lakes with a crew of family and more. One slide revealed him at the keyboard of a pipe organ, playing with total concentration, sitting with perfect posture, hands and arms extended just right. That's exactly how he sat at his office computer, again with total focus in the narrow room he chose as his office. He wasn't just writing computer code. He was composing music!

Will Juntunen

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