I've always liked people who are interesting, people who are different. I like it even better if I get to become their friend. For the past 8-9 months I've been able to strengthen the friendship of one of the most interesting and different...Gerald Alan Boyd. We've known each other for several years, but only hung out a couple of times. Back in January that all changed when we started working together. And over these last months a bond formed between two Texas boys that'll last a lifetime.
Our best times have been hashing things out during an hour and forty minute drive to an out of town remodel job that lasted about 7 months. We talked about the twists and turns of life. We wondered out loud if our best days were behind us. But sometimes along that familiar commute we would dare to believe that Father Time hadn't got the best of us. We talked about what it would look like if we decided to persevere and work our dreams.
And Gerald's dreams have always revolved around music. There are lots of talented musicians out there, but not all of them have soul. I'm here to tell ya, my man, Boyd, has got him some soul. It's not just in his playing, it's in his style and his attitude. Whether he's producing, mentoring, or writing; he's putting his heart and soul into it.
I can't remember when it happened, exactly. It must have been 4-5 months ago. Gerald told me that something had shifted inside of him and change was coming. I don't think he could have articulated much beyond that, and I didn't ask him to. Somehow, I knew it was true. Sure enough, a month ago his prophecy came true. After coming back from a week's vacation in Nashville, he announced he and his family were moving back there.
Gerald has a long and storied past with Music City that I won't get into it right now (I'll leave that for the book he'll probably write one day). Even though I partially knew that news was coming, it only slightly lessened the sting. I felt like we were just getting started in our friendship. That's the way life is sometimes...seasons can abruptly change. As bittersweet as this change is, it needed to happen. I've never been so proud of a friend. At 50 years old, with a wife and two kids in tow, refusing to give up. This isn't about trying to 'make it big', this is about offering a God-given gift and keeping a heart alive. Yep, The Dung Beetle has unfinished business up there in Tennessee.
I call him The Dung Beetle because he once showed me a video he took by his house of a dung beetle. He was all proud of capturing that little poop roller in HD. Told me how dung beetles fascinated him, how he could watch them for hours. Then it kinda came to me...that's Gerald. Someone you just don't forget after you get to know him. Someone so unique in his approach and personality that you're just so grateful you got to be part of it. One of the things I'll miss the most is the way that ol' so-and-so made me laugh. Pokin' fun of his redneck past was his specialty. Puts a smile on my face, now, just thinking about it.
I took this impromptu picture the other day just minutes before he left. Not the greatest photography (stupid sunshine), but I hope it visually captured a little of what I've wrote about him. So, hear's the deal, if you've got a dung beetle in your life, don't forget to let them know how much you appreciate them. You might want to do it today because you never know when they might be rollin' on to a different destination. I'll sure (shore) miss ya', Boyd!