It was in July of last year, I was getting ready to drive to Virginia for a surprise 60th birthday party for a good friend.

Just a few days earlier he had been told “YOU have cancer.”

His family decided the party needed to go on and they made the right decision.  The party was GREAT.  Family and friends, the two ingredients that made Jay’s life, made it a special night.  Inside he knew he had just been handed a death sentence, and a few of us in the room that night knew it too.  We kept Jay’s secret and celebrated his 60 years with gusto.

Cancer wasted no time; he was gone 8 months later.

Today would have been Jay’s 61st birthday.  No party this night.  No celebration, except to remember him with love and the gratitude that he was my friend.

Jay and I would meet at the canal on June 16th, Leroy’s birthday, and we would have a little ceremony and release balloons in Leroy’s memory every year.  It was always a special time for the two of us to remember the Big Guy so today, I did the same for Jay.

Happy Birthday my friend.   That big, Happy Face/Happy Birthday Balloon that sailed by you in heaven was from me, remembering, from our spot at the canal.  I miss you.

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