Saying goodbye to a friend can be very difficult. Good friendships do not happen every day so it makes sense that saying goodbye to a good friend can be sad and upsetting.
I never met him face-to-face, our paths never crossed during our growing up years in Corbin. But when he died a couple of weeks ago, I felt like I had come to know him well through e-mails we had exchanged for almost a year. Our Corbin background forged a bond between us. And although he was from the East Side and I from Central Corbin, I readily recalled his name — and the connection of his family with mine through the marriage of my cousin Glenn Rowlette to his sister, Martha Archer. His first e-mail to me ended with “Smile, life is too short not to”. This set the tone of our many internet conversations. His name was Charles or Charlie Archer.
In time I came to look forward to Charlie’s e-mails and his sense of humor. He had a good recall of many friends we had in common, some of the names long forgotten over the years from my being away from Corbin. He brought me up to date on their marriages, deaths, where they lived, meeting them for lunch. He was a font of information and it was clear that even though he left Corbin many years ago, he never left Corbin at all. His hometown never left his mind.
I didn’t know Charlie was so ill. He didn’t talk about it much except to joke about being an old codger. His last e-mail to me, just two days before he died, was about his concern for brother Don and me. He assured me that we were in his prayers. This, when he was so ill himself.
I wish I had known him better. I wish that his e-mails would go on and on. I miss them when I click on my incoming mail. His death has left a sadness in me that is hard to explain. But I’m so thankful that I got to know him. Goodbye Charlie. Rest in peace.
In honor of my friend Charlie, I’d like to share an example of his sense of humor. Enjoy:
“So there I was sipping a free cup of coffee on Kroger while Diane shopped. The coffee machine was just outside the pharmacy. A room adjacent to the pharmacy is labeled “CONSULTATIONS” for questions about prescriptions and doses.
A recent hire, a young woman whom I had never seen before, was in charge of the cash register. After I had been sitting there for a few minutes, she noticed me. She politely asked “How may I help you?”. I nodded my head toward the consultation room and told her with a straight face that I had a problem. And she said “Yes?”
So I said to her, “I really need some consultation because my wife and I have been having marital problems, really bad, and I need some help.” Her eyes lit up like those of a deer caught in the high beam of an auto’s headlights down on Cumberland Falls Highway. Then she burst out laughing and walked away.”
This is an incredible bread. Its moistness comes from the addition of an unusual ingredient: coconut milk!
Super Moist Pumpkin Bread
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2/3 cup flaked coconut
1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 8×4 inch loaf pans.
In a large bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, white sugar, pumpkin puree, oil, coconut milk, baking soda, salt, ground nutmeg and ground cinnamon. Mix until all of the flour is gone. Fold in the nuts and flaked coconut. Pour batter into the prepared pans.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cover loaves with foil tightly. Allow to steam for 10 minutes. Remove foil and turn out onto a cooling rack. Tent lightly with the foil and allow to cool completely.