I went to a funeral this week.
Funerals are actually good things. But the reasons for having them are bad.
Dennis Fee, the longtime security chief at Fairplex, died on June 14. He was only 55. He wasn't one of those guys I ever hung out with much when I worked at Fairplex, but he was always somebody I'd say was my friend. He was soft-spoken and level-headed, and he always seemed have a pretty good grasp on what was important. I hadn't talked with Dennis since last September at one of the concerts at last year's Los Angeles County Fair, but it was always great to visit and share a laugh.
Back in the days when I worked there, I'd always have baseball caps made for the news media with the Fair logo and the word "media" stitched on the front. I'd stash a few extras away, and save one for Dennis and his brother Tom, who both started collections of the caps from every year. Most of the media people probably tossed their caps -- or threw them into a closet somewhere -- but at least somebody appreciated them.
Aside from the obvious of saying goodbye to someone who's already gone, the worst part of funerals is talking to the family and seeing their sadness. It's hard to tell them how bad you feel, but they already know. Tom was pretty good about making people feel at least somewhat comfortable when they shook his hand on Monday. He had smiles for everyone.
And for the most part, the people at funerals do smile. It's the excuse we all have to see our old friends from past seasons in our lives. We need an excuse to get together with some of those pals and share great memories. Unfortunately, usually somebody has to die to make that happen.