The picture of his childhood friend caught his eye. Among the cozy chatter of old friends and family, he left the conversation at the table staring, transfixed for a brief moment. The sudden silence in his own head overcame him, welled up a bit in his eyes as he moved toward the picture of his old friend that seemed to call to him.
Carefully, he focused with his phone camera and took a picture of the picture. Close up. Then he stood back and looked at it again … back in the town where they had met as kids. He was memorizing the face of someone he had known for most of his life.
He knew he’d never again go back to the table with him, to their friends, and finish the joke, recount the mischief, remind him of “that time” or see his smile as they shared another milestone moment together. This one. The one neither of them never imagined in their forever kid minds. There would be no more. Everyone was still laughing about the last story. The reality of it all hit home, right where they met. And he sat again with all of it held close as he continued the hometown celebration. Then he smiled again, because he knew. He knew what it was all about.
It’s all about getting the picture. The picture of a life well-lived, community, and love. Rich Chandler got the picture. His friends and family showed and shared his picture on Saturday, close up. Back home. Together again. And always. Not a beat skipped. Doesn’t matter who that friend was who snapped that close-up. His picture was everyone’s, from one angle or another.
The focus was sharp: A celebration of life honoring Rich Chandler.
Remembering. Smiling. Embracing a life. Putting it all together in little snapshots. Decades’ worth of moments on rewind with a big fat hug. He was home where so many hearts were feeling the drummer’s beat, forever dancing to it.
Rest In Peace, Rich Chandler. The Fair Haven kids will always wanna know if you can come out and play.
— Elaine Van Develde
Take a look at the photo gallery above for a glimpse into Rich’s celebration (Click on one photo in the stationary gallery to enlarge and scroll.)