Last August, me and the bunch of blokes I worked with all got made redundant. Some of them had been with the firm for 20 odd years so they got a decent lump. Enough to make a diference. There was lots of speculation about what we'd do with it. I paid a large chunk of the mortgage off with mine, a couple of guys took early retirement. One chap - two or three years older than me - booked a cruise, some bike lessons, went shopping for a Harley and had six months off.
I went to his funeral yesterday. He had a heart attack shortly after starting a new job.
He was a good man and well liked. The crematorium was packed. There was a little truck drivers reunion afterwards and it dawned on me (and probably the others too) that there but for the grace of God....
It hits you like a train when one of your peer group cops it. I've worn a suit twice this year - twice too often. It has made me even more sure that we're doing the right thing.
Rest in Peace Chalkie.