Monday, January 11, 2010

Goodbye Darol

This is a picture some friends took at an Airstream campout a couple years ago. Around the back from left to right is me, Dave (looking like a hippy), Don, Janet, and the guy in front with the umbrella is Darol.  I just got a note this week that Darol had passed away from leukemia right after the holidays.

Darol was a great guy. I met him a few years ago because he was into restoring Airstreams, and he lived right down the road from me, so it was natural to run into him. I loved going to his house to visit and see what projects he was working on. He was a master craftsman. Everything he did wasn't finished until it was perfect. He always found the most elegant solutions for problems. Nothing was overdone, it was always just done right. He restored a number of Airstreams which are with happy owners around the NW.

When I was restoring my Airstream and had troubles he was always a phone call away, and he came over a couple times to help me screw down the floor, or fix my water tank where it had cracked. He helped me plan the install of the new furnace, and finished up my clumsy attempt at cabinetry by lifting the fridge and building an extra drawer under it. Everything he touched was better when he got done with it, something I can't necessarily say about my own efforts.

We had a great time camping, and I loved going over to his house and we'd sit out on the back patio, listening to his stories about being a shop teacher in Alberta, or being drafted at the tail end of Vietnam and ending up being a military phone operator, or of the boats and Airstreams he'd built. He had tons of interesting stories to tell, and told the funniest Sven & Ollie jokes you ever heard, and could have everyone roaring around the campfire.

I have been thinking about Darol a lot. I would have enjoyed another ten years of hearing his stories. He was just a genuinely nice guy, talented, great fun to camp with. He had a dry wit and a wry sense of humor. I think the lesson he left us is to enjoy every day, and don't put doing those things you love off too long. None of us know how much time we have left to wander around and see the world, and of course the best part of any trip is the fine people you meet along the way.

1 comment:

annaliese said...

so sorry for your loss, Steph.