A Small Kindness

I am sitting here listening to Viva Terlingua!, the Jerry Jeff Walker album that Dave and I used to listen to over whiskey and smokes. Makes me think of him and remember the wonderful person I knew ‘back in the Day” outside of school.

My first encounter with Dave was my first class at Evergreen. We all gathered in a room in the library building, sitting on the floor since there were no chairs or desks there yet. As we waited for the “professor” to arrive we all began talking about who we were, our names, backgrounds, Viet Nam stuff, what state we were from, where we were living in Olympia, where we found good beer and better pot, married or single, scoping out who we could hook up with, and finally wondering what was taking this professor so long to show up. Well, we waited for over 45 minutes and were just about ready to leave when one of our group stood up, introduced himself as Dave Hitchens, and said the class was over and see you back here on Wednesday. How cool was that?

After I finished my first year (1972), they made me graduate since I had too much credit from Georgia Tech before I was drafted into the Navy in 1970. I petitioned to stay an extra year, Dave went to bat for me and it was approved; even the GI Bill part so I still got my tuition money. Dave and I began a contract on Executive Power. Watergate was going down, Sam Ervin was holding hearings in the Senate, John Dean was blowing Nixon’s cover, and a taping device was found in the White House! I was taking a self-study with Dave on constitutional law and the fight between Executive Privilege and Congressional powers. I was watching the hearing on TV in the morning, reading the Federalist Papers in the afternoon, and debating the issues with Dave over a beer at night. It was wonderful!

The most important things he did for me was to include me with his children and some of their family events since my family was in Florida and I was really all alone. His divorce was final and the sadness was palpable. We hung out often. The most memorable time was on Christmas Eve, 1973 (I think). All of his kids were with their mom and I was “between” women. We had a few beers in the afternoon. We moved to a bar downtown until it closed early for Christmas. We then went deeper into Olympia to a bar we never had been in before but, very importantly, was open. It was raining a typical Olympia December rain and was probably 40 outside. God! I hate that weather! We ended up closing that bar at 2:00 am on Christmas Day. We went to my house to find some whiskey, had a few more drinks and crashed. We both woke up around 9 in the morning and we both agreed that bars need to stay open on Christmas Eve and that this was the most depressing Christmas of our lifetimes.

Dave went to Australia to start an American Studies program and left his entire record collection with me! Ask him about Scatter Creek and his music from Australia.

When Dave remarried we sorta drifted apart since I had gone to Western for Grad School and then got a teaching job in Tacoma and Dave got into his new life as a happily married man.

I met a wonderful lady, married her, had a son, and moved back to Florida in 1991. I have never forgotten Dave. I think about him every Christmas. As I sit here listening to” London Homesick Blues”, I have a tear in my eye and I smile on my face. I know he has much better friends all over the world and around Olympia. I know this was a very sad time for both of us and I know how it affected me. He was there for me when I had nobody and I was there for him when his life was shattered.

Please tell him how much he means to me and let him know he will always be my Mr. Bogangles.

Thank you and love to you, Dave!

George Schroeder

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