Last night a dear, dear friend died.
Greg Murrey died while doing what he loved the absolute most. Attending a Braves game.
I remember the first time I met Greg, was at a Braves ball game. I had flown into Atlanta to see Malcolm and Greg wanted to treat us to a game. It was August and it was hot. Typical Atlanta. I remember walking out the airport and immediately started to sweat. The night of the game, Greg put the top down on his Corvette, cranked up the radio, and drove us to the ball field – game day had started. Wind tossed and glowing profusely from the humidity of Hotlanta, I was a bit cranky, a lot grouchy and definitely not looking my best, and still Greg accepted me, befriended me, and loved me because I loved Malcolm, his friend. I considered Greg a friend from the moment my then long hair snarled in the wind as we shouted over the radio. He was the kind of guy you just instinctively liked. You wanted to sit at his table. Greg is the one who taught me, any inning after the ninth is considered free baseball. And we all know, everything is better when it’s free.
A year later, I catered a dinner for San Francisco Giant’s Pitcher Dave Dravecky and received a signed baseball as a gift of appreciation. I promptly sent the ball off to Greg to add to his collection as I knew how much he loved the game. In the years since, I have forwarded on more signed memorabilia. Signed balls from Dodger Sandy Koufax and Royal’s outfielder Willie Wilson are now in Greg’s line up. Baseball was the common thread in which I had met Greg and now he is tossing those baseballs I gave him throughout the years, around with baseball’s finest in his own field of dreams.
When I sent Malcolm off to Vegas for a well deserved mini-vacation this past April, Greg’s hand was raised the highest to join up with him. Along with another member of the buddy gang, Greg and Malcolm spent four days enjoying life. It was a trip filled with good food and good times along with a little Jerry Seinfeld thrown in. Cubans, Cognac and a Craps table rounded out the Vegas adventure. Friendships don’t get any better than this. And Greg was a good friend. One of the best.
Greg was like a brother to Malcolm but closer. He was like family to him but even closer. With over 45 years of friendship, Greg and Malcolm had bonded in Junior High School running track and carried their close friendship throughout college, marriage, babies, jobs, and life. Their bond of friendship was unbreakable. Though separated by over a five state span, they talked and emailed across the miles constantly.
Greg was there when Malcolm and I married, standing at the altar with us as we whispered our vows. Greg was there when we lost our nephew Sam, standing by Malcolm’s side to prop him up in our time of grief. Greg was there when we had to put Tiamo down. Knowing how the sharp barbs were piercing our hearts, Greg stood with us in understanding.
Today, Malcolm and I have to stand alone without our friend and it’s heart wrenching.
I just learned the flag is at half-mast today at Turner Field in honor of Greg.
May the breeze be gentle and the sun at your back my friend, as you look down on the game. God bless.