Ed & Marilyn 'The Happy Wanderers' travel blog

I wrote the following account, over a number of years, beginning in 1999 and ending in 2005. It is included in the documented family history which I have worked on for going on to 14 years now.

My brother, Bill, two years younger than me, has been my best friend throughout our lives. Even in High School, Bill was always welcome to be with my friends and I when we were doing anything, especially playing ball.

As we grew up one of our favorite things was just to hang out together, drink a few beers, toss a baseball around, and especially to cook out on the grill. Although I considered myself a good cook, Bill could put me to shame when it came to the grill. I have eaten some very fine meals cooked by my brother, especially steaks and seafood. We have great memories of cooking on the grill for the whole family, drinking a few beers, telling stories, laughing and playing games in the yard with our Dad and our kids.

We have vacationed together in various places, having a wonderful time.

Everyone has a great time when my brother Bill is around. He is one of the all time "good feelers" (a person who makes everyone around them feel good).

I recall a vacation we took in 1999 to Virginia. Bill and Judy and Pat and Steve (my sister and her husband) came to Massanutten Mountain, VA, where Marilyn and I had a condo for a week.

Bill brought a cooler full of crabs to cook. He placed newspaper on the counter to place the cooked crabs on when he removed them from the steamer.

We had the table all set and Bill was ready to put the crabs on the table, but as he passed the newspaper filled with steamed crabs to the table, the paper which was wet from the steam, fell apart and the crabs went everywhere!

Anyone who has eaten steamed crabs knows that there is a great mess with them, but when the mess is all over the carpet and the furniture it is a disaster!

We all laughed until we could hardly see as Bill made jokes about the way the condo would smell after we left. We did get it all cleaned up and back to normal, but it was in doubt for awhile. Good memories.

That was the same vacation where we hiked with Pat & Steve but that is another story for later.

We also flew to Hawaii together in March of 2003. We met in the airport at Dallas/Ft Worth (DFW), and flew on the same flight the rest of the way.

Bill and I played golf on his lap top computer on the long flight over the Pacific to Honolulu. We then took a commuter plane to Maui where we stayed at a wonderful bed and breakfast for the next four nights. After that we flew to the Big Island where we had a condo for seven nights.

That was an absolutely wonderful vacation together. We had such a good time in Hawaii that we soon planned another trip together.

This next part was written in the fall of 2004.

As I write this, we have reserved cabins on a cruise ship for February, 2005. We will have adjoining cabins for a 10 day cruise to the Caribbean.

My brother Bill and I liked to play golf over the internet when we were apart.

I tried for some time to get Bill to write more about himself for the family history.

He had such an interesting life. His travels all over the world with the President of the United States, and the many funny things which happened would make a book by itself. Bill had many famous friends including well known political and sports figures.

The baseball player, Chris Chambliss, once gave Bill and I several baseballs autographed by the entire Atlanta Braves team. We had been invited into the Braves locker room after a game against the Cardinals in St Louis.

Cal Ripken was another friend of Bills.

Bill and I really enjoyed sharing a major league game together although it was simply being in the company of the other that made it special.

Bill would go all out when we visited them. He would cook up a crab feast with steamed crabs, shrimp, and clams. He was sure to have a cooler full of beer iced down to go along with the great food.

Bill built a multi-layer deck on the back of his house, covered the deck, added a brick patio, a small decorative fish pond, plants, large picnic style tables and topped it off with two gas grills to cook on. Many good times were shared on Bill's deck.

At the time I wrote this part, we were planning a trip to see Bill and Judy, along with my sister, Pat, and her husband, Steve. We planned to visit all of them for several days and then the entire group, along with kids and the whole family, would spend a few days in a condo at Bayse, VA.

I wrote this next part on June 19, 2004:

We have returned from our visit to the East Coast.

Shortly before leaving on this trip, my brother, Bill, was diagnosed with melanoma cancer. He began very aggressive chemotherapy treatments with IL-2 and was back home recovering his strength when we visited beginning on May 24th, 2004.

Bill had been planning a big crab feast for our visit and, in keeping with Bill's character, cancer or not, nothing would spoil our good time.

Danny, Bill’s son took over the details and the work, and did a wonderful job. We had a great time with steamed crabs, clams, shrimp, corn on the cob, cucumbers and onions, and many other delicious dishes.

Bill and I sat together and talked, laughing and having a good time. We agreed that the "torch has been passed" to Dan. He did a super job with the crab feast.

At the time I write this, the outcome for Bill is undetermined. The doctors give him only a 15% chance of making it.

Bill has handled the difficult treatments with his usual courage and grace, and I believe that he will make it with a full recovery. So many of our friends and relatives have been praying for him, and our own angels in heaven are watching over him.

As is so much of this family history, this is an on-going current event. So we too, must wait to complete the story at a later date. I pray for my best friend, my brother, with confidence and humility.

Feb 9, 2005 5:35 P.M.

My nephew John, Bill’s other son, just called to inform us that his dad, my brother, Bill, just passed away. Marilyn and I had just returned from a visit to see Bill, two days ago. We were able to visit with Bill although Bill was very weak and it was mostly us who did the talking. Bill, though terribly weak, reached his arms up to hug me when we walked into the hospital room. We were able to say those most important words, "I love you" to each other. My heart is so broken that I can hardly write this. Maybe later I will be able to relate how important Bill was to my life. Right now I simply want to go to some quiet place and just cry.


My eyes tear up as I read over this journal entry. Today is the anniversary of his death but it is his life I celebrate and choose to write about.

I hope that by sharing this with you dear readers, that you will come to know a bit about my brother and realize what a good person he was.

Rest in Peace Bill. We will always love you.

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