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Tribute to Vernon Boggs

Profile: "Thanks For Calling, Doc!"

by Alfredo Cruz

"Thanks For Calling, Doc!"

Just like that!

Without a warning - Vernon's dead. I didn't have a clue, was gone all week - left the day before he did - I never got a chance hear his gruff, raspy "...hey Buddy!" coming over the horn. To again trade barbs with him, those barbs born of love, respect and mutual - yes, admiration - designed to provoke, stimulate, agitate, reverberate, and very delib-er-ate-ly, push each other to greater heights. Vern was the only one who'd call just to keep me in line, "...did you write anything yet?..." - he always said I should write more, something about - he 'liked my styyyle!'

Damn! It still hasn't sunk in, don't know if it ever will. I'll just have to learn to deal with it, to adjust living my life to being without him. A substantive man, who always had something positive to contribute every time we met or talked, and I was fortunate to have spent a lot of time with him. An acquaintance who quickly became a close and true friend in every sense of the word. He was there for me when no one else was. In those low times of depression and despair, when I didn't think I had a friend in the world, the phone would ring and good 'ole Dr. Salsa'd be there. Last time we talked, he wished me a good trip, one I was planning - still six weeks in the future. I said, "I'll talk to you again before then." But I didn't. Maybe he knew, maybe he didn't, probably not. Maybe it was just fate's cruel way of giving us unrecognizable hints - and us, without a hint. I have no regrets, though, because I always made it a point to let him know how much he meant to me. I only have my own natural human selfish pity for having to live the rest of my life without this valued and cherished friend.

I'll miss those Sunday morning breakfast meetings where we'd talk about music, life, religion, philosophy, politics, emotions, relationships, aspirations, and our deepest personal preoccupations. I'll miss his constant contributions - that educated me, made me think, and most of all, helped my continued growth and development as a professional and as a person. I will survive, however, and because Dr. Vernon Boggs touched my life, am much better off. So, from this "small-town Texas boy in the big city" - Thanks for checking in Doc. This good-bye is not forever, solamente - hasta la proxima.

Alfredo "Latin Jazz" Cruz

September 13, 1994

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