Ode to Eddie Singletary


On Nov 18, 2007, at 2:27 AM, Charles Read wrote:

Dear Friends.

Today I learned that my sometimes courier, sometimes yard guy, sometimes employee and always great friend, Eddie Singletary passed away at the age of somewhere around mine. Eddie approached me in front of my rental house about work about three years ago, and it went from there to for me a great working relationships with one of the most reliable, honest and compassionate people I have ever known. I say this not in eulogy, but because Eddie had suffered probably most of his life. He overcame serious addiction, on to living with HIV and it’s debilitating symptoms, this coupled with serious diabetes.


He’d become after recovery an unusually optimistic person, held his head high, and led the straight and narrow. He helped anyone that came into contact with him, had never a bad word for anyone or anything, and had an infectious laugh that could be seen when petting my dog Mille, or looking at a job well done. He could do almost anything, short of electrical and plumbing, which who can?, and made my day a little more sane by doing the things that keep me away from my beloved computer and livelihood. He told me stories of his childhood, further north in florida, or getting away from drugs and people who were still in turmoil and found people who believed in God like he did and I admired his faith, though my own is questionable. He told me God would be good to me because I was so good to him for the little money I gave him and now I wish it had been more, feel like I was stingy and parsimonious at times. He had a friend, Jane, and Mrs. Storr, who lived across from the rental house and he did work for her too, and we spoke tonight and cried, because we knew we’d never see or hear Eddie’s joy again, and knew that was the selfish part.


But I have learned a lot from Eddie, who sometimes I took for granted, and sometimes I felt like was my brother, and sometimes like my child, and sometimes like a stranger. I have had a story book life, and Eddie has taught me the importance of simplicity, finding joy in minute moments of routine, feeling the sun on my face and the love in my heart, as I watch him do so. I had to share this with all the people I love, because I never took a photo of Eddie, and though we promised each other many times, we’d “look out” for each other, I kept calling him from Tuesday when he did not show up for work, but left for Atlanta without checking on him, and even on the plane I thought I should have gone by there because he ALWAYS came or called if he wasn’t. So for two days, his not calling meant he was probably already gone. My realtor on my rental house called me because his friend Jane knew I owned the house and told my realtor, Sunny, who knew Eddie too, and who called me to tell me the bad news. Otherwise I would not have known till I got back in town that Eddie had died. Eddie was black and told me I was the only white person who had ever really been his friend. I think he just didn’t have a chance to know many white people because anyone would have loved Eddie. I guess I don’t have a whole lot of black friends either, but I think it really drove home for me our sameness as people with basic needs that are so easy to give or take away with simple human gestures of good will. I guess more than anything, this is what Eddie has done for me what he left behind for me. And it is my mission to be that way for each of you, from this day forward.


With much love, and prayers for Eddie Singletary, I sign off.c