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When someone close to you dies, it makes you realize that tomorrow is not a promise but a hope. I have lost both of my parents, four grandparents and numerous aunts and uncles, but they were much older than I was, and while I was sad and grieved, it was somewhat expected-a circle of life. For my parents, their death came after a fairly long illness, so we knew what was coming. Still hard and something you try to avoid, but in some ways a bit more bearable. When a contemporary of yours dies suddenly, or heaven forbid a child or someone younger, it makes you realize your own mortality and it shakes you to the core.

This weekend, many of us were shaken, when our dear friend Martin Zoldessy died of a sudden heart attack.

He was in good health, active and had no indications that death was near. I had talked to him the night before and we were making plans for supper club at their house that next weekend, and planning a trip to Scotland as a group.

We were making plans for the future.

Then the future, for Martin, was gone. GONE! Such finality in those words. No more discussing wines,

gardening, comparing notes on recipes

or places to travel.

For Clay, no more buddy to commiserate or glory in the losses and wins of the Razorbacks.

No more searching for horseradish plants, or a particular variety of hot pepper, no more pool parties,

road trips,

or supper clubs with him.

Martin would have been 80 years old this November, and we were planning a big party. He was quite a bit older than me, but in years, not in spirit. Upon learning his age, most people are amazed he was that old—he did not look it, nor act it. He was, in our minds, our age, one of us, our friend. He was always ready with a smile and willing to help. He loved life, and the people in his life. He cared. He cared about his family

and his friends and he showed it in so many ways.

He was curious about so many things, and his office at home is a testament to the things he needed to read up on.

He could not pass up a magazine or newspaper (nor throw one away) until he had read every word, and then he might still need to save it because he wanted to reread it.

He was semi-retired, still working a day or two a week as a dentist with the prison system. He had his routine and stopped in at either Kroger’s, Sam’s, Fresh Market or Colonial or all four almost every day. Maybe that came from growing up in New York where you stopped in and bought your dinner on the way home, but who knows, he loved the search for something new and different. We all knew if Armageddon happened we would head to his house, since he had enough food stocked up for an army to last a year or more.

He and his wife Aurian took the Master Gardener program this past October together. He was so excited to be a MG and jumped in and got involved with the demonstration garden at the Arkansas 4-H Center.

He jumped in and helped whenever he could. He was just that kind of guy.

There will never be another Martin! Going through pictures for this blog, I have laughed out loud remembering all the fun we have had together.

I am a better person for having known him, and I will miss him dearly. Goodbye my friend!

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