i received an email from a high school classmate late last night; the subject line read simply "craig settle."
i immediately knew the nature and purpose of the email. the only uncertainty was the "how" of craig's death; the inevitability of it was not in question, however.
craig and i were good buds in high school, although we really came about it in backwards kind of way. he was an outstanding athlete; i was a little smart ass who went out for sports because i wanted to hang out with my friends, and that's where they were after school, evenings, and many weekends. they were jocks; i usually handed out towels.
we bonded during junior high football and track, despite the fact that he played basketball and i wrestled. we clicked when it came to music and other "cultural activities" of the day [late 60s and early 70s; you figure it out]. i taught craig how to tie dye for example, and the first thing he did that turned out well was his football practice jersey.
i also taught him how to grow his hair long and get kicked out of school as a result.
i mentored him in civil disobedience. we were both early and young fathers, and had that in common, too. craig had a very cool early camero, a VERY hot street machine. i enjoyed it vicariously. when he joined the "sons of silence motorcycle gang," i had no such similar affiliation, thankfully. as a "son," he became "wish-bone" to his peers. i was always "kim" and he remained "craig" to me. his fellow members looked aghast, but he never once commented on it to me. we retained a quiet mutual respect for one another.
i can only imagine that his death was a complication of some unpleasant, drug-related cause. that matters not to me. that others may strongly disapprove of his lifestyle and his activities also matters not to me.
what matters to me is that a man--a friend--who meant much to me during my early, formative years has died, and that i no longer have the opportunity of running into him at completely unexpected times, as we often did.
i'll miss those chances to catch up.
the rest of the shit? it doesn't matter to me.
Craig Richard “Wishbone” Settle, 56, of Nevada, died Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009, at Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames. Memorial services will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 18, at Memorial Lutheran Church, 701 11th St., in Nevada, with Pastor David R. Burling officiating. Burial will follow in Nevada Municipal Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, at Chet Ryan Mortuary, 708 Fifth St., in Nevada. Craig was born June 5, 1953, in Nevada, to Richard W. and Laura I. (Michaelson) Settle. He was a 1971 graduate of Nevada High School. He was employed with Mid-States Millwright Builders. On Oct. 31, 2003, he married Virginia “Ginny” Eyanson in Ames. He is survived by his wife, Ginny, of Nevada; one son, Chad (Amy) Settle, of Ames; his father and stepmother, Dick and Cindy Settle, of Nevada; one grandson, Devin Settle; two brothers, Mark (Judi) Settle, of Olathe, Kan., and Steve (Kelly) Settle, of Ankeny; one sister, Tracy Lewis, of Washington Township, Mich.; two stepchildren, Vicki Schadt, of Ames, and Chuck Schadt, of Nevada; mother-in-law, Karen Holder, and father-in law, Glen (Gloria) Eyanson, all of Nevada; three step-grandchildren, Haley Halladay, Hallee Schadt and Heavann Schadt; three stepbrothers and sisters, Nico, Vanessa, Boyd and their spouses; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother, Laura Settle on April 17, 2001. A memorial fund has been established.