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35655A Friend is Gone.

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  • Dick Weeks
    Nov 2, 2005

      While traveling down this road of life some of us are fortunate enough to meet someone, every how slightly, that effects that road in ways that they would never know. Steve Wakefield, known to many as "AoT", was one such person. Even though he and I only met once face to face, because of the Internet, I considered him one of the few true friends I had. We talked many times, about many subjects over the years and I intend to set up a page for him on my website as soon as I can think clearly. I will post the link when it is ready.

      What some of you may not know is that if it were not for Steve this discussion group might not exist. Some years ago in the old WebAmerica Civil War chatroom the discussion turned toward the war in the west and how it seemed to be neglected in most books and discussions. As the discussions continued I made a comment about setting up a discussion group dedicated to the western theater. I let it drop at that. It was not too long before I got an email from Steve asking what happened to setting up a discussion group about the western theater. I wrote back and told him that it was merely a suggestion and I had not thought about really setting one up. He wrote back and reckoned as to how he thought I should. I wrote and told him that while I could do it technically, and I had the website as a platform to advertise it, I did not know enough about the war in the west to ask an intelligent question. He reckoned as to how that was not important and if I would set it up he would be one of the first members. As I thought about a little more and contacted a couple of friends to see if they would help moderate it, I decided to do it. Thus the CWWT was born.

      Now this is not to say that Steve and I always saw eye to eye about everything. As some of you old timers might remember in the early days of this discussion group Steve got his shorts all in a bunch and decided to resign. I wrote him and told him that I thought he was just as wrong as "snow in July" but it was his choice. He resigned and sent me a nice email (which I still have) explaining his decision. However, it was not too many months before he came back to join us again. Then some time back, when I was really having a hard time with the group, I wrote Steve and told him that I was getting all kinds of email about how the group was being moderated. A few praising me, but most were chastising me for being too strict about enforcing the rules. I explained all of this to Steve and told him that while I appreciated all of the input to the group he had made, I was thinking about just shutting it down. The hassle was getting to be too much. Between the email from the CWWT and the email from my website I was just getting overwhelmed, and what did he think. He wrote back and said, "First Sergeant, let me throw your own words back at you, I think you are just as wrong as snow in July but it is your choice." Needless to say the group is still here and doing well. Sometimes you just need a friend to put the solutions to your problems in simple terms.

      It is such a great thing to live in the age we do. No longer does a friend have to live next door, or even be someone you have to talk to once a week. It merely has to be someone whom you trust and know that he is just a key stroke away. Steve was such a person for me and he will be sorely missed. May the good Lord bless him and give him peace.

      I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
      Dick (a.k.a. Shotgun)
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