The other day Dickie Cullison called and invited me to go to Courtney’s for lunch. I rang up Mike Raley and we trundled into Tommy’s and Julie’s around one o’clock to find the place completely packed. Seems that ever since the Enterprise’s article last week (click here) the crowds have been coming. (Of course pre-article there were always folks there for lunch and dinner but it’s now even more crowded.)
In our conversations with Tommy, Dickie noted that he would turn 60 this coming Sunday and that he and Doug Courtney, Tommy’s younger brother had had the same birthday.
Every time Doug’s name comes up I always get very sad thinking about him and his suicide when he was only 21. He, Greg Majeski and I hung out and partied a lot back then and there are several do-you-believe-we-did-that Doug-related stories that we still re-tell today. Doug and I had gone to Florida following graduation from high school in 69 and lived in St. Pete for a time before we returned back to the County.
The day Doug died in 1972, he and I had been out drinking earlier in the day and he talked frequently about killing himself versus giving himself insulin injections. A Type 1 diabetic, Doug was to go to the doctor the next day to begin the injection process. As he discussed this and said he would shoot himself with a gun before he’d shoot himself with a needle, I didn’t really put much stock in it. Doug was given to saying somewhat outlandish things at times.
The next morning however when I learned that he had indeed shot himself I regretted not having been a better listener and friend when he was obviously very serious about something I thought he was joking about. I still feel bad that I could and should have done more to try and talk all of that over with him vice him doing what he saw was his only option.
This Sunday we’ll have a little party for Dickie to celebrate his 60 year milestone, but we will also take a moment and remember our good friend Doug.