An Inconvenient Tour, when Andrew called. He was in hiding in Montana with friends and Wilson, and Wilson went into some kind of distress and they rushed him to the nearest vet. He was there with him and would call back when he knew more. Of course we went to the Beck show and I was mostly oblivious to what went on with Glen. Andrew called and Wilson had heat stroke. They were filling him with fluids and meds, but it didn’t look good. There was probably brain damage. They’d keep him overnight, but the prospect was grim. Andrew called me the next morning excitedly, “Dad, he’s improving. They’re letting us take him back to Idaho.” Just continue treatment with his vet there. Of course it’s the best news I could have possibly wanted to hear.

I’m just about a week away from flying out there. Now I need to digress, and boy, is this story long……. Andrew and I loved the book by Norman MacLean, A River Runs Though It. I finally had a son who liked to fish, and he’s much more passionate than I about fishing. Anyway, the last paragraph of MacLean’s book Andrew and I memorized. It’s a beautiful passage and we’d test each other on it. It’s actually a beautiful little prayer, (at least to me it is.) And I always told Andrew to say it to himself when life gets ruffled, especially with what’s gone on in his family in recent years. The book is about a father, his two boys and flyfishing the Big Black River in Montana. It’s a true story of MacLeans life. In the verse in part it speaks, “…..and memories and the sounds of the Big Black River, and a four-count rhythm in the hopes that a fish would rise.”
About three hours afterAndrew’s call they’re leaving for Idaho I get the call that’s etched in me forever. I see it’s Andrew with caller-ID on the cell phone, and I excitedly answer, “Hey, Andrew, you’re entering Idaho.” Complete silence. He can’t speak. He finally sobs ,”Dad, he didn’t make it. I’m so sorry.” Wilson started convulsing in the car, they made it to the nearest vet. The vet said he’s got at best hours and probaly minutes to live, and he’s suffering badly, he needs to go peacefully. He let Andrew hold him in his arms while he left us. Andrew talked into his ear and gave him one last hug “for you, Dad.”
We talked and cried for quite a while. I was reassuring Andew it wasn’t his fault. He felt so responsible. I told him it was God”s calling. (Just as He called Sprite home.)And I knew Wilson had the most wonderful year of his life fishing, hiking, sleeping with Andrew, horseplaying, fun, fun, fun, with Andrew and his buddies. .
I loved Rush’s reassuance to you, Mark, they were totally appropriate and true. We all have a purpose, no matter how small we think it may be. God sparked life into us and it’s got to be for a reason.
We decided to have Wilson cremated there in Montana and arranged for his ashes to be shipped to Andrew. About an hour later Andrew called me again, as he did for the next couple weeks very frequently for comfort and talking about Wilson, and me allaying Andrew’s tremendous guilt. But he said, “You, know what, Dad, we were driving Wilson from the Vet’s to Idaho and just before he started convulsing in the back seat, we drove over a bride and on the side of the road was a sign “Big Black River.” Within the hour, Wilson was in heaven.
Now, fortunately I’m a true believer, now more than ever, and growing every day…….. but how does a boy hail from New Jersey, find a school in Idaho, love MacLean’s book and feels in his heart the last paragraph about “memories, and the Big Black River”, find himself in Montana, crosses that Big Black River, and God miraculously, gently eases Wilson’s soul to be forever with Him? The most densely populated state in the union, to the most sparsely state, a boy is not un-noticed by God. He had him in His sight the whole time.
God bless you, Mark, for writing this book. There are no coiincidences. It’s all for a purpose. It’s what we do with that purpose that matters.

Walter from NJ