Sunday, August 26, 2007
When I talked to my parents on the phone today, I learned that Evans Huber, a childhood friend of mine was struck by lightning and killed last night while camping in Baxter State Park with his mom and brother. I had not seen or talked to Evans in years, but I was affected by the news. Two years younger than me, Evans grew up on Peaks Island, Maine, where my family spends our summers. His parents and mine were close friends, and my mom and dad had recently started visiting more regularly again with Lare, Evans' dad. I remember Evans as the quintessential island kid, curly-haired, barefoot, bike-riding. He hung out with the island crowd, the kids who snuck beers on the Back Shore and jumped off the towers at the ferry dock, but also seemed more interested in the world beyond Peaks, a trait he no doubt inherited from his parents.
Evans went to McGill University in Montreal and graduated the same year I did, in 2005. I hear that he was in love with a woman he met there, a Canadian, and was planning to get a visa to move to Canada and live with her. His brother Emmett is still an island presence at the age of 18; he was hit by the bolt, too, but survived. Their mom, my mom's friend Lois, was uninjured.
How do you deal with something like that if you're Evans' family? I have no answer. I have never been touched by tragedy in that way, and I am grateful. I do not know how I would or could respond to the death of my own brother, but I know that I am looking forward to seeing him next week, even more than I was before I heard the news about Evans.