Thursday, April 14, 2011

Remembering a Friend

Was planning on bringing back Thursday Night story time tonight.  I'm going to have to put it off another week or so.
 I got the news earlier tonight that one of my friends Craig Hicks had passed away.  I've known Craig probably 8 years or so.  One of the nicest people I have ever known.  The first time I met him was when he came into my old antique shop down in Thomaston.  We talked for a while, and I found out that he had a store down in Manchester.  It used to be a store.  Kersey's Grocery I think was the name of it.  It didn't have electricity.  The floor had fallen in and on each visit thereafter it would be a little bit worse.  I can hear him now, "Watch the floor, it's a little unlevel."  The roof leaked and parts of the ceiling had started to fall down.  He was there most every Friday, Saturday and Sunday unless it was cold or raining for 26 years.  I spent many Saturday and Sunday afternoons there.  Craig was a junkman.  One of the best there ever was.  I always joked with him about being the luckiest person I knew when it came to finding stuff.  He was very knowledgeable, and would openly share his knowledge anytime you would ask.  When I was in the auction business, he was one of my regular consignors.  We both made a lot of money off of Marie Rogers pottery back in those days.  We would normally talk on the phone about once a week, and I would usually go see him every other week when I was in town. 
When I started painting 3 1/2 years ago, he was my biggest supporter.  Of the 360 or so pieces of art I've done to date, he owns approximately 50 of them.  Craig has been in a nursing home or hospital for the past 9 months.  He had an aneurysm and stroke which left him immobile.  His mind stayed sharp as it ever was.  I saw him last on March 27th when I was coming back from the Doo-Nanny.  I started not to stop.  The truck was loaded down with stuff and bad storms were on their way.  I actually went past it and decided to do a U-turn.  I hadn't been to see him since right before Christmas.  I had my knee surgery and wasn't able to get around good, but had been meaning to get down there.  I'm so glad I made that U-turn.
We talked that day for a little over an hour.  He told me he had sold the rest of the stuff out of his building to a friend of his.  When he got better, he was just going to start over.  He'd always ask me how my art was doing.  Told him that it's really been picking up lately.  Told me that when he was able that he wanted to buy some more.  He never gave up hope. 
He loved roosters and he's probably one of the main reasons that I have painted so many.  This is one I gave him after he went into the nursing home.  It was on the wall at the foot of his bed so he could see it.  He would usually comment on how much he liked it, when I would go see him.  Craig, you will be missed my friend.  Until then.