Thursday, August 30, 2007

Goodbye, Doc

You may recall from Monday's post, if you have the memory of an elephant, that we had some nasty weather come through. As I was oohing and aahing about lightning, someone else was getting killed by it. Today is the funeral. I will be there with my mom.

His name was Doc Adams. Well, he was called Doc because he was a veterinarian. His wife, Phyllis, is a very good friend of my mom's. Doc was on the golf course with friends when the weather hit. They waited for 90 minutes in a shelter on the course before finally heading back. Doc never made it. He was with a group of four. When he didn't show back at the club house, they thought he probably took his clubs to his car and drove home, expecting him to return for a burger later. But he didn't. When one of the men left, he saw Doc's car was still there and went looking for him. His body was found beside a small pine tree.

My mom is in shock. "It's just so bizarre," she said. "It's unbelievable."

And the public wants to lay blame. The family has had to answer reporters' questions about his health, his state of mind, his supposed foolishness at being on a golf course in a thunderstorm. Readers of the online newspaper have slammed Doc and his friends, calling it natural selection that he died that way. Doc's son went on the online forum to say his dad wasn't so stupid, actually, that he would never golf in a thunderstorm and never tell anyone to wait under a tree or do so himself. He was an outdoorsman who taught and practiced safety. They don't know what happened out there, and they never will.

I only met Doc a couple of times. He seemed to me to be a very kind and patient man. From what I've read, his friends and family thought the world of him. I feel terrible for them having to endure the horrible things people are saying while they're trying to go through this.

He is the fourth person killed by lightning in Madison in less than a week. Last week, three people died when lightning snapped a power line. The live wire landed in on the ground, which was one giant puddle because it's barely stopped raining in weeks. A woman about to board a bus was electrocuted, as was the toddler she was holding. A man on the bus tried to help her, but he died, too. The driver and the woman's older child were electrocuted but survived. This happened about a mile and a half from my mom's house, a spot I go past often.

Watch out for lightning. Mother Nature can be a bitch.


The Rotten Correspondent said...

Jesus. That is not a happy story. I think people forget how fast these storms can come up.

Last week I dropped my youngest and the rest of the soccer carpool off at the field under a clear blue sky. By the time I was almost home I looked in the direction of the field and there was a storm right over it thundering and lightening like hell. One of the other parents had seen it first and was already on the way to get them.

Scared the hell out of me.

laurie said...

oh, man, amy, that's terrible.
why would people be criticizing the poor guy? that's a terrible way to do die. i'm so sorry.

laurie said...

ps i looked at the capital times online and didn't see anything objectionable in the news stories or the reporters' questions. but the comment section is horrifyingly cruel. anonymous posting really brings out the worst in people, doesn't it?

Amy said...

So, we're back from the day. I took my mom to the doctor, went out to lunch, then went to the visitation.

As I walked up with my mom, I heard a man say he hadn't gone out today (presumably to golf--it was actually sunny today) because he was still pretty shaken up from Monday.

My mom was absolutely dreading the day. But she's through it now, had a turtle sundae to calm herself, and is likely sleeping already.

There were lots of pictures at the funeral home. They had a huge bowl of Reese's peanut butter cups, which were Doc's favorite candy. The family stood in a receiving line as though it were a wedding, and we went down the line, offering our mild condolences.

Phyllis was so kind, as always. She has been such a great friend to my mom, holding her up when she needed it. I know my mom would like to return the favor.

Laurie, the paper didn't have anything objectionable, but the family did have to answer some awful questions and try to persuade people he wasn't a dunderhead. My mom mentioned it to one of the sons today, and boy, did it get him going. I'm sure reporters' questions were asked tactfully, but they're still crappy questions to have to answer. The reader comments were really horrible. It's a shame the family saw them and worse that people ever wrote them.

Another pang came when we drove past the spot where those three were killed last week. There are flowers, balloons, stuffed animals, a cross, and ribbons set up, and it is only a block and a half from the funeral home. What a reminder as you're driving past.

Amy said...

And sorry to scare the hell out of you, RC. I'm glad you got your kids off the soccer field. I think I'll be less cavalier in my attitude about lightning from now on.

laurie said...

there was a piece in the paper today about how storms--even smaller storms--are likely to get more violent and deadly as global warming continues.

not that that had anything to do with the good doctor's death, but it's a rather frightening thought. we have had some massive stories here this month, starting with the storms that took down so many trees in my neighborhood and then several more that took down trees and smashed houses and cars in sw mpls a few nights later.

i used to love thunderstorms--i used to go outside and play in them. my brother still does. my mom sits out on her deck and watches the lightning.

and i'm thinking, no no no it's not safe!

the funeral soudns very sad, but also very nice. i love the personal touches of the peanut butter cups.

my great-uncle was veterinarian. we knew him as Uncle Doc. i was a teenager before i knew his first name wasn't doc, but claude.

Swearing Mother said...

Hi Amy, those storms sound terrifying! Back here in the UK we've had a terrible summer this year, not as dramatic as storms in the USA but scarey for us just the same. Many people have lost their lives in most bizarre ways. My work colleague's husband was sitting at home having just come in from the night shift, a huge bolt of lightening struck their chimney, ran down the walls of the house blowing the plaster off the wall and plugs out of their sockets and hit the sofa he was sitting on. He spent the night in Accident and Emergency trying to get his heart rhythm back to normal! That was about a month or two ago. Yesterday he was back again having dislocated his shoulder on a slippery football field. Mother Nature is definitely playing with us at the moment.

Thanks for visiting my blog Amy, lovely to read you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy, I'm sorry to have visited your blog for the first time on such a sad note. However, I'm glad I did.

That is such a terrible tragedy. Life is so precious and when it is taken so cruelly the last thing anyone needs is aggravation to stir up the feelings of anger that are already a natural source of grieving.

Blessings, Crystal xx

Amy said...

Crystal, welcome to my blog. (I had a moment of dyslexia and wrote "glob," which might be more appropriate, anyway.) I'll see if the weekend provides me with something humorous or profound to blog about. Not that death isn't profound.

Laurie, one of my fondest memories of my childhood is sitting in the garage with my brother during a massive thunderstorm. We drank bottles of Sprite and watched the water hammer onto the driveway. It was so loud we didn't even talk to each other. I think I still love thunderstorms, but I'm more afraid than I used to be. Your brother needs a good smack!

SM, the flooding in the UK seemed awful and endless. Pretty scary about that man on his couch. Jeesh. It makes me think of the strange ways or places people die. Hmm....