A Toast to Dear Friends
By Rod Haden
I’ve worked at the Erwin Center since 1999, which isn’t quite half of this building’s life, but it’s most of my adult life. We have a long history together. Knowing that someday, this building will give way to the growing Dell Medical School and that something new will be built somewhere else to replace it, I’ve been thinking about the stages of its life.
In the stages of my life, I’ve gone through times when many of my peers were getting married. Later, it seemed like we were all having kids. Eventually, many of us were getting divorced. And now, I look at my parents, and it seems like they’re at a time when many of their peers are passing away. I sit at a desk most of the day in the administrative offices here, so a couple of times a day, I try to remember to get up and get moving. I walk around the concourses. Both the arena and mezzanine concourses are lined with large, framed photos from many of the events that we’ve hosted here over the years, going back decades. You’ve probably seen them. As I walk, it occurs to me that this building, too, is going through a time in its life when many of those people who have lit up the stage here with their skills, their personalities, their artistry, are also passing from the earthly world, though our memories of them live on.
Maybe it’s a little maudlin, a little sad and sentimental, but I like to think of the passing of time as I pass by all of those photos. I think of this building sometimes as a person I’ve known seemingly forever, my dear old friend. She’s coming now slowly to the end of her life, my Erwin Center, and so many of those she’s known and loved have preceded her into the mystery.
So here’s to them. Here is my glass raised, a toast in remembrance of dear friends no longer with us. Let us tell tales together, with fond smiles and raucous laughter, of the glorious times we shared.