Rich was seated at his desk in the home office reading an oil and gas industry magazine on the web when the phone rang. The caller ID indicated it was their good friend Roxanne, but Rich didn’t bother to check it because the odds were that the call was for Peg. The calls were always for her, it seemed.
The dark wood office where Rich sat looked like an old library one would see in Europe, maybe even in a castle. As she hung up, Peg entered the office.
“Rich, I have some bad news,” she said in a faltering voice. “That was Roxanne. Ernie’s dead. He collapsed at home this morning and died before they got him to the hospital. It was a heart attack.”
Rich was stunned. Peg took a seat next to him.
“I just can’t believe it,” she muttered.
Rich felt grief bearing down on his chest.
Ernie was 65. Only a few months before, they had been fishing together in Jackson Hole. Rich thought back to the trip and Ernie’s behavior. Ernie had been his jovial and feisty self. He was definitely out of shape, his stomach big and round, and he lost his breath easily. But Ernie had been out of shape for decades. It never occurred to Rich his friend was on death’s door.
“I can’t believe it, either,” Rich said holding Peg’s hand tightly. “I just saw him the other day and he seemed fine. We had such a good time in Jackson Hole.
“How’s Roxanne holding up?”
Roxanne was Ernie’s first wife, and Skip’s mother. She and Ernie had divorced 25 years ago, but she kept in contact with her ex-husband ...