Dennis Outdoors says:

I’m reminded of one night in West Virginia.

Maybe another in Georgia.

Okay, a few in Arkansas, a couple more in NC and TN maybe more in Idaho, Montana, Colorado. Not to forget more than a few in NE Alabama and East TN.

Most of my paddling buddies and a few of my hunter friends and motorcycle buddies can relate.

In an effort to make something good of this, please consider;

I’ve been awake most of the night. I got word by phone yesterday that a good friend and co-worker is in a Burn Unit in Seattle. If God deems it, and is merciful to him, he won’t live much longer. If not, he will survive minus an arm and unemployed, severely handicapped at retirement age, to live a lonely life of pain and impairment. A difficult life just got more so in either event.

He lost the wife of his youth to cancer long ago. He has been mostly alone since then, but has had lots of friends. A Very Likeable Guy.

I’ve ridden motorcycles (His is a Harley) and kayaked down the river a few times with him. Partied with him a few times. Alcohol had become a mainstay of his surviving daily life. No idea how he kept his job driving, but he has been a driver longer than I’ve been a mechanic, which is to say A Long Time, as both of us are/were nearing retirement.

New Year’s Eve, my buddy was the last one up at a bonfire, finishing up the Celebration.

Extremely Inebriated and alone. Again.  Somewhere about 4am, he passed out and fell in the fire. He was found there sometime after dawn, lying, still, in the dying embers. I would not have believed it possible to get drunk enough, yet still alive, to not awaken to the pain of burns such as he has suffered.
So please, add this one to the list. Do Not Leave your drunk friends alone at a campfire. Most of us have done so at one time or another.

I myself have been both the drunk and the one to leave the drunk behind. And so have many of those reading.

And Please Pray that God be Merciful to this unfortunate soul.
Thy Will Be Done.

Greg’s P.S.-   Unlike a lot of internet chatter, this is from an email written firsthand.  I know Dennis. He knows me. The story is now traveling out into the realms of third- and fourth-hand stories, and I’m sorry that I can’t personally go along and explain that here and now, January 2011, this is happening.  It’s real, and so far it’s unadorned- straight from the heart of the guy who wrote it.  A year from now, you might catch yourself on trying to work out whether it ever really happened because some imbeciles will repost it after adding crap about space aliens or  campaigns to send cards to the guy who’s trying to get into the Guinness Book Of World Records, or the story will be packed full of heart-rending ironic details about the burned man’s life or family or poignant final thoughts.  Well, I can’t stop that from happening, but as for you reading now… just remember to look after your pals, okay?  Leave no one behind.