Sunday, 21 September 2014

Planet Dan and a Terrible Tragedy

I can think of two things which these three people hold in common with each other - Danny Cheers, Danger and Jams.
The first is, that none of them appear to have an off-switch located anywhere about their person. They are compelled to be themselves, relentlessly so, and you may be able to read any random chapter of them which should be thrown open to you while enjoying the pleasure of their company.
The second is, that each has a ferocious sense of loyalty. The kind you would want behind you in the trenches.
I was working with Danny Cheers.
People may say, "Danny. He's a character."
But I disagree. He's not a character. He's the real thing. He's Danny Cheers.
The first thing you would have to say to describe Mr Cheers is that he is an Everton supporter.
The second would, perhaps, be to mention his distinctive, woolly Ushanka.
The third fact I would like to state would be, that if you had a brain, and a good ear, Danny could make you laugh.
Not everyone is blessed with the ability to appreciate the absurd, the ridiculous, the freedom. But Danny has also been blessed with that inconceivable, involuntary will to keep on driving forward - to just keep going. Perhaps a subtle form of psychological conditioning has taken place through his love of football - keep going Danny, it says, keep moving the ball up the field.
Yes, he is, if on form, relentless, and he did have a can.
I decided through Danny that the very thing that distracts me in the middle of service, is the thing that makes me focus more.
Danny, I was finding out, was easy to work with, relaxed, professional about his duties, a bit messy, but more than anything, he made the day go easier and quicker through a mutual derisory tone aimed at authority.
Yes, indeed, a man you would want behind you in the trenches.
No, Danny wasn't interested in how many people I had threatened, just as I wasn't interested in how many threats Danny had actually seen out.
Yes, Danny was a good man to work with and I had a feeling when I left work on Sunday night that I was getting to know a lot of people, not just him.
When the next day arrived, I got into work early, said good morning to Andy and the first thing I remember him saying was, "Did you hear Matt died in a car crash last night?"
At around 1.40 am on the fifth of April, 2014, Mathew Walton crashed his car into a fence and tree and died shortly after.
The big fella.
Tall, handsome, full of life, someone's son.
I didn't know him well, but he had put on a bad Scottish accent for me the previous evening, he always made me smile and I swear I'll remember his strapped up arm pushing through the door of the kitchen until the day I die.
That big, handsome, full-of-life joker - one minute here, the next minute gone.
I am so very sorry to Mathew's parents. For all those who loved him.
What a terrible, terrible tragedy.
And a dreadful, dreadful loss.
Another man, you would most certainly want behind you in the trenches.
I think that day I made some food and served it, but I never stressed about it, never worried, things in perspective.
Life is so suddenly sledgehammered into another lane and we find ourselves suddenly and unexpectedly going in a different direction.
A terrible tragedy and an awful, dreadful loss on the day of the fifth of April, 2014 - the same day my beautiful twin girls turned 11 and had a sleepover for their birthday.

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