There are people who come into our lives who initially seem to have little or no impact. Years later we realize how important they were. They planted a seed that somehow survived all the challenges in life and years later grew into something substantial. Meet one of my high school teachers, Dave Burris the art teacher at Riverside High School.
It's funny, because I never took an art class. However, "Mr. Burris" published my first images in the yearbook one year. At the time, I had no idea photography would play such an important role in my life. In fact, for years I had forgotten about Dave Burris all together.
It was around our 30th high school reunion. We were all at a bar and he walked in, shook my hand and said, "Dave Burris". I didn't remember the name, let alone him being a member of our class.
I got home from the trip and grabbed an old year book. He had always been "Mr. Burris" in high school, so the first name part threw me off. Plus, back in high school, he really wasn't that much older than we were - so thirty years later, being a little over-weight and balding, he just matched the rest of our class! LOL
From that moment on the friendship took off. I'd catch up to him online, at future reunions and even a few phone calls now and then. In fact, when Sheila and I got married we tried hard to get him to the celebration.
This week Dave Burris passed away. Only friends from high school and the community in Painesville, Ohio and his family will recognize the loss, but I wanted to share this with you. Each of us have people in our lives who we've forgotten about. It's not intentional, it's just life getting in the way and time moving on. Maybe it's time to pick up a phone and track a few of them down.
Dave Burris was more than a teacher, he became a friend to all of us. He showed up every year at the annual reunion and often said our class was the one he felt closest to. And, if he said that to any other class, none of us cared.
So, to my good friend Dave Burris - I didn't keep in touch with you enough over the last few years. I just assumed you'd always be at every reunion. Rest in peace and know you touched so many lives and were a teacher who made a difference in all of them!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.