Yet another sad note

As mentioned Friday, it was sad to hear of the death of local police officer Lisa Beaulieu. She was killed Friday morning on a Beaumont, Texas, freeway after being struck by a suspected drunk driver while directing traffic at another accident. I did not know Officer Beaulieu but that type of news always hits hard in smaller cities like ours, perhaps even in large cities.

Today I learned of the death of another public servant whom I did know, I once worked with and considered a friend.

Capt. Ed Ivy of the Nacogdoches Fire Department in East Texas died of a heart attack while attending a firefighting conference out of town. He was 51.

Eddie was one of those larger-than-life creatures who crosses your path if you are lucky.

When I started fire academy in Nacogdoches some 29 years ago, I must admit I didn’t quite know what to make of Eddie. His brother, Danny and I were in the rookie school class together and the Ivy Boy’s cousin, Ricky, would rejoin the fire department a year or so later and would become a friend.

On the number of occasions I worked the same shift with Eddie, he definitely was the one who could get you to laugh with his stories told in his unabashed East Texas drawl. One of the funniest things I ever remember hearing Ed say was a quote for a story I wrote while attending journalism classes at nearby Stephen F. Austin State University.

During the period of time that John Travolta thrust the drugstore cowboy craze onto the country with “Urban Cowboy,” Eddy was one of a couple of firefighters who worked on their days off as real cowpunchers. I wrote a feature story for class about how Eddie and fellow firefighter Bob Templin moonlighted by rounding up cows for local ranchers.

Eddie told me about once having a cow fall over and having to give the bovine CPR.

“I didn’t give her mouth-to-mouth,” Eddie said, noting that he jumped up and down on the cow’s chest to get its heart going.

He was also one of those firefighters who put everything they had into battling blazes. Eddie was the type of fireman you wanted around when things got hairy.

Of course, it’s shocking to hear of a friend dying suddenly like that. Unfortunately, that is something that continues as a presence as you age. The situation reminded me of talking to a young woman tending bar awhile back. She was in her later 20s and spoke of a friend going through a divorce, something that she experienced a year or two before.

I told her that, yes, “I remember going through a period when my friends were getting divorces. Now, they are just dying.” I said that not altogether seriously but perhaps with a tinge of sincerity. I don’t know why I said it. Perhaps it was to make the young bartender aware of the fact that, although it is not fun to see your friends divorce, neither is it pleasant to hear of them dying. But that’s neither hear nor there.

It seems like life just doesn’t get any easier as we travel along this old cosmic interstate.

Adios Eduardo.

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