Charlie & Debbie

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Two nights ago, I got a really disturbing call from one of my oldest friends in the radio business.  Wait, I’ll get back to that in a minute.  First a little background.  Let’s start with that friend.  Tom Barfield gave me my first opportunity to get on country radio and make an idiot of myself.  I will be forever grateful to him (And you have him to blame.  You’re welcome.).  That radio station was “The Best Country in the City” 102.5 KJNE in Waco, Texas.  At the time, Tom (in addition to being the boss) was 1/2 of the “Tom and Jane” morning show.  The other half was a fantastically fun and free spirit, Stacey “Jane” Kinsey (the girl on the left in the picture above).  Stace was just a couple of years older than me at the time but was miles ahead of me in terms of self-confidence.  To this day, I’ve never met a girl at that age (early 20s) who was surer of who she was-for better or worse-than Stacey Kinsey.  She was like that really fun older sister to me.  When I think back to the times we were together, I remember nothing but smiles, laughs, empty pitchers of beer and her constant search for a cigarette or a lighter (for someone who smoked she was woefully without both most of the time <g>).  We didn’t work together long as there were changes at the station and Stacey got out of the business.  Honestly, I lost track of her for many years.

Then the miracle of Facebook arrived and we were able to reconnect.  Stacey had “grown up” (the lady on the right in the picture above).  She was now Stacey Kinsey-Kerr.  She married a great guy (Duane) and had son that she adored (Brit).  A delicious piece of irony is that her boy was/is pursuing a life as a country singer.  The past few years we’d comment on each other’s posts, playfully wish each other a happy birthday, and she always kept me up to date on Brit’s appearances, recordings, etc.

Now, back to that call from Monday night.  Stacey had a medical incident while out with friends last week.  From what I can gather there was some sort of seizure involved that led to a severe cardiac incident.  Tom was worried but hopeful that because she’d had CPR performed on her on the spot that Stacey would turn the corner.  Then last night, Tom called back to tell me that after a series of tests, it had been determined that our beautiful friend wasn’t going to make it.  Life Support would be employed for another day for family and friends to say goodbye, but that sometime today, those measures would end, and our sweet girl would be gone.

I went to bed last night thinking about how many pieces like this I’d had to write or express this year.  The answer is too damn many.  When I woke up this morning, a thought was in my head that I couldn’t shake.  We’ve all seen the anonymous friendship poem “A Reason, A Season, or A Lifetime.”  If you haven’t here’s the crux of the message:

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed or just felt. They have come to assist you through a hard time, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. Then, suddenly, the person disappears from your life. Your need has been met; their work is done.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share or grow or give back. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They give you great joy. Believe it; it is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons—things you must build upon to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all your other relationships.

It occurs to me that Stacey Kinsey-Kerr was all of these to me.  REASON?  She was a friend (when I needed one) who accepted me “into the club” at my first radio station and made me feel welcome.  SEASON?  We probably worked together less than a year-two at the most.  LIFETIME?  Without thinking about it, over the years, I’ve been that “Stacey” for so many.  That fun friend who put his arm around the newbie at the radio station and let him/her know how welcome they were, how happy we were to have them with us, and of course…to let them know that the first round was on them. <g>

Sometime in the next few days, a quiet, private, family service will take place as Stacey Kinsey-Kerr is laid to rest.  I will not be there (nor should I be) in person, but I will be in spirit.  And the next time I’m able to be with Tom Barfield, I am certain that we’ll put on some George Strait (her fave) and raise a glass to our “Miss Jane,” our friend, comrade, and sister for a reason, season, and lifetime.