Ten years ago tomorrow, I lost a dear friend. His name is Charles L. Gruner, but I always called him Charlie.
Charlie and I met in 1982 when I moved from the East Coast to the Midwest. The company I worked for was headquartered there, and I was given an opportunity that I couldn’t refuse.
I really can’t remember how I met Charlie and his wonderful wife, Joan. I think it might have been a gathering at a neighbor’s house. Charlie lived a couple of blocks over, so it must have been at one of the neighbors. All I know is we hit it off immediately. He is one of those guys who you instantly like. He had a laugh that could be heard across the room. So, if you didn’t know Charlie, you knew of Charlie.
Our relationship became closer as we both went through periods of challenge. I finally moved away from the area to pursue a new position on the West Coast. We stayed in touch, and then I got some heartbreaking news in 2006. Charlie had Cancer. Well, he beat it that time, and we went on as if nothing was wrong. Although we talked on the phone, I didn’t see Charlie again until the summer of 2011, when I traveled back to the midwest. It was as if we had never been apart. We caught up, and the day flew by. Before the time together was over, Charlie told me he was going to write a book. He wanted to impart some of the knowledge he had acquired in his business life. Charlie was a very successful CEO, and such a book would be a treasure.
One dismal day in December of 2011, his wife called and told me Charlie would not live. I was struck dumb. Twenty-nine years of our friendship was over way too fast. Yet, I was able to talk to him one last time and told him how much I loved him.
Charlie did write his book, and it became published after he was gone. As I indicated in my review, it is a great tool to be kept hidden. If discovered, the secret of the reader’s success will be uncovered.
I still miss Charlie and carry some fond memories.
- We used to bark like dogs when I drove by his house
- Charlie would blame the holiday for his overeating
- He got a pilot’s license and then thought flying too tame
- He formed his own racing team and drove race cars
- He loved his wife and his family more than anything
- He believed it a mark of distinction to be fired from a company
- He was always willing to help others
- He always supported whatever I did, even if I made mistakes
Charlie’s book is titled Turning Losers into Winners and can be found on Lulu
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