By Deanna Kirk
Corsicana Daily Sun
I finally got to leave the county for a bit of well-deserved time off, and in my absence, the death angel worked overtime, and it appears he was just getting cranked up.
It was after we returned home that two dear friends passed away over the weekend.
Loyd Cook passed away unexpectedly at his home in Kaufman last Saturday. He was only 53.
It’s difficult to describe someone who defies description. Loyd was a piece of work. Loydicus Maximus, as Camille liked to call him, was a large personality. First, there was his appearance. I love the way Jayson Larson described him as a “disheveled ex-hippie.” Loyd would love that. He delighted in leather jackets, dangly earrings, and bad tattoos. He was the only guy I knew still rolling his cigarette packs up in his sleeve. Big teddy bear was an appropriate description, but “Bad Santa” could probably work, too. I know he wore our Santa suit a few times.
Loyd was scary smart, a whiz with anything technical. And his keyboard probably had more crumbs in it than anyone else’s. To be so incredibly smart about so many things, he was also capable of horribly poor judgment. Perhaps this was a common thread that bonded us, as I’ve been guilty of same on numerous occasions.
In the five or six years we worked side by side, Loyd went through more tragedies in that short period of time than any human should have to endure in a lifetime. Yes, he had times of deep grief. He even had times of depression. But he also kept smiling and encouraging others. That was one of his best gifts, that of encourager.
Sometimes I would get so very angry with him over some work-related thing, but he would sense it and bat his eyelashes at me — no kidding — and after that, I dissolved into giggles and couldn’t be mad anymore.
He was my friend, my confidante, my fellow soldier in these trenches. I can rattle off several important Corsicana happenings that he and I shared in the newsroom, and things like that have a way of bonding you. We spent hours at work talking about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness, and hours on the phone from home doing the same. I know he’s called me from Montana and Wyoming while on cross-country motorcycle trips, and I can’t even recall what other locales.
And even though you could usually count on Loyd to say something totally inappropriate, I loved him dearly. It grieves me that I can’t remember the last time we talked. When he went to work in Kaufman, he would still pop in here from time to time, but it seems like I missed him the last few times.
But just a few weeks ago when we got our football shirts, they took a picture of us and posted it on Facebook. I had some goofy smile that I always make in photographs, and Loyd mentioned on FB that I made that “face” other times, as well ....
Oh, my friend. You knew me well. I will miss you, and pray you and Joanne are reunited on the streets of gold.
Our other friend, Johnny Barrett, had battled an illness for a time, but had told me he was getting better, and I believed him. I was shocked Sunday morning to learn of his passing, as well.
It was a short period of my life that I spent time with Johnny, but I liked him. A lot.
He was a Vietnam vet, former rodeo cowboy, rancher and cattle hauler. I’ve eaten meals in a good number of truck stops with Johnny, where his huge grin, even bigger laugh, and explosive delivery of a phrase or punch line always kept me giggling. He had the dubious honor of having the first mail subscription for Explore magazine.
Though divorce took Johnny out of my life, I am happy that Mr. Kirk and I were able to go visit him in June of this year at his home. I was able to look him straight in his hazel eyes and hear him tell me that he would beat this thing, and give him a long, big hug.
Rest in peace, my friend. Good Lord willing I’ll see you in heaven.
Deanna Kirk is a Daily Sun staff writer and editor of Explore magazine. Her column appears on Saturdays. She may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: email@example.com