Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Friend - David Burgess - A Short Life

Little Did I Know....

10 May 1954 | Alpine, Utah

Little did I know that it would be the last time I saw my friend alive.

David Burgess and I sat through a youth primary school meeting that early May afternoon talking and trying to contain the wiggles of two five year old boys. We must have been successful, because the instructor didn't give us the 'eye' or say anything about our conduct at the end of the class.

In deep conversation, we found our way out of the front doors of the church and waited for David's younger brother, Kenneth, to get out of his class.

Still talking when Kenneth arrived on the scene we only nodded to acknowledge him. Before we could conclude our plan to do something together later in the week, we heard his mothers voice: "Come on boys. We have to go now."

David told me they were going to American Fork for something. I don't remember what it was but I watched them quickly walk across the street and get in their car that was parked in front of their house.

The wave of David's hand through the window as they drove away was my last sight of him in life. There is no face in my memory. Just the waving hand. He was sitting back too far in the seat to allow me see his face I suppose.

Within minutes, a vehicle driven by a tourist from Canada had run the stop sign at the intersection by Greenland's service station in Highland and broadsided their car.

Seat belts didn't exist in vehicles in 1954 and all three of the Burgess family members were thrown from the car. David's mother, Ethel, was killed when it rolled on top of her. David was seriously injured and was taken to the American Fork Hospital where he died shortly after arrival. Kenneth was also injured but survived.

All the residents of the small town of Alpine were shocked by the tragedy. Hearts went out to the young father and his surviving children.

Almost all of us have indelible memories of events or people from years past. Snapshots of that afternoon still reside in full clarity in my memory after all of these years.

David and Ethel Burgess were buried in the Alpine City Cemetery in Alpine, Utah.

How many memories, photos and old newspaper clippings do you have stored away that need to be recorded and shared before it is too late?

Jot them down. Put them on your blog, on your website, or in a binder that you donate to a library.

Someone, sometime, will be extremely appreciative of your thoughtfulness. Gifts of this nature are worth more than gold. If you've ever been the recipient of one of them, you know that it is true.

It's all just part of "Paying-It-Forward" ... Right?