PeeWee

Don Barone
PeeWee is leaving B.A.S.S. because his heart is failing him.

About the author

Don Barone

Don Barone

db has been in the reporting biz for over 30 years, won some Emmys and other awards, but is proudest of his four-decade marriage, his two kids and the fact he founded Tackle The Storm Foundation to help children.

"Everything comes and goes … "

Dateline: Behind Center Stage

We are born a blank canvas.

It is those we meet along the way, who color in our life.

Each and every one of us is a kaleidoscope of each other.

In my life it is not the famous who have made me what I am, or what it is I may become, it's the ordinary folks who have given me the opportunity to have an extraordinary life.

It's the young child who shows me the elephants in the clouds.

It's the long married couple walking in front of me, and holding hands.

It is the man who whistles a song while unloading a truck.

The nurse who puts socks on your feet while you are asleep.

And it is a man named PeeWee.

A man who has been behind the B.A.S.S. center stage for the past 26 years.

And who will be there no more.

" … you try to believe but you never know … "

"db, they just my boys, they family, they family to this old man from Virginia … I just, just gonna feel terrible."

And then PeeWee repeats the word terrible … t-e-r-r-i-b-l-e, one word that he couldn't speak, that he could only let fall out of his mouth.

We sat in a golf cart as PeeWee told of how his heart has failed him, and while he feels great, it is a machine that "does the work of my heart." A heart pump with tubes and batteries.

I couldn't tell PeeWee this face to face but PeeWee, my friend, your HEART HAS NEVER FAILED US.  Has never failed anyone who brought their fish to you behind center stage.

KVD:  "He always has a smile for us back there, loves the sport, especially loves the kids, a soft spot in his heart for the kids who show up to watch, and he always was looking out for us."

Shaw Grigsby:  "One of the good guys, a truly great guy, someone who made a difference in so many people's lives … it will be a sad day when I go back there and PeeWee isn't standing there."

" … anyway the wind blows … "

"It's not how I wanted to go out, health stuff, but I had congestive heart failure and I just can't do it any more … I feel … I feel … I feel like I let everyone down."

I could only sit and listen, and sometimes I could barely even do that, at those times I could only just gently pack the top of his hand.

Pat the hand of a man who has been married to his Mary for 52 years, the father of three grown boys, and a daughter, pat the hand of a man who to me never needed a last name, I never asked, Peewee was all you had to say, and a man with a giant soul came to help.

"I will never forget my friends here db. I have never, from the first day when I came here until when I retired, I have never called it a job. It is not work, it's a joy."

Then he patted MY HAND, and the man who's heart is failing him leaned close to me and said, "You know, if you put your heart into it, it's not work, it's love."

With that, he added a brushstroke to the canvas.

And became a jewel, in the Kaleidoscope of life.

" … somewhere, sometime,

I will walk with you"

I Will Walk With You

Bruce Hornsby

-- db

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