GIVE US A HUG
About 30 years ago, I met Barry Menes, a young, energetic, talented, and forward-thinking attorney. Barry’s last name is pronounced “Menace,” as in “Dennis the Menace.” (Is that a great name for an attorney or what?). Barry became my lawyer representing me when I was producing TV shows back in the 70s. He also became a friend. However, as stuff in life so often happens, our business affairs changed directions and we lost touch.
As most of you regular readers of my blog know, I have been in the process of putting together a Lloyd Thaxton Show DVD, “My Name is Lloyd Thaxton – So What” This project is most likely the one most dear to my heart. It is also something that I could not do alone.
The idea hit me like a flash. Suddenly after not seeing Barry for over 25 years, it dawned on me. Music was always his specialty and he was not only good at it, everyone in the music industry respected him. And, he was a friend. Perfect!
I picked up the phone and called his office. It was so great. Barry loved the idea. He radiated enthusiastic confidence and without one moment’s hesitation, I suggested a partnership and Barry immediately agreed.
Everything happened so quickly. We not only structured a deal, we put our long absent friendship back together again. It was obvious that this was to be the beginning of a very exciting era for both of us.
We spoke on Friday October 6, 2006. We were going to meet on the following Tuesday, October 10th, to put the final touches on an agreement and finally move forward on the DVD. Late Saturday night, October 7th, while dining alone at a local restaurant, Barry got a piece of meat stuck in his throat and died ... poof ... gone!
He was 59 years old.
It was a blow unlike anything my wife Barbara and I had ever felt. Less than five days later while watching Barry’s casket lowered into the ground, we couldn’t help thinking (actually hoping) it was all just a movie. We kept waiting for the director to yell "Cut!" It was all just too quick. Too unreal to be true.
There were hundreds of people at the funeral and at the reception that followed in their home; a testament to the positive impact that Barry had on so many lives.
It wasn’t fair.
Barbara and I sat there stunned. Watching the many mourners who lined up to hug Barry’s grieving family, my mind started to drift and I asked myself, “Have these people ever hugged each other before?” I thought of a video I had recently seen on YouTube called “Free Hugs.” It was crazy. I suddenly wanted to run out and make my own “Free Hugs” sign and hold it up for everyone to see. It would be a wide open offer.
If you missed this video, take a few minutes and look right now.
And then, go hug someone. Your wife, your mother, your sister, daughter, husband, kids and all your friends. Yes, all of them. That’s why I’m writing this blog; to remind you to do it NOW!
I will never forget the moment Barbara and I saw Barry for the first time after all those years apart. We were waiting in a restaurant ready to have lunch together. Happily I reached out to shake his hand as he walked toward us. But, Barry opened his arms wide and gave both of us a big hug.
He was that kind of guy.