Everyone has friends, some that might be referred to as ‘close’ friends. If you’re fortunate, though, you’ll have at least one friend you might think of as indispensable. Wayne Ridge was that indispensable friend in my life.
We met when I was 15 years old. I was looking for someone who would help me get in to Amateur Radio, and Wayne was who was recommended to me. The story of my first meeting with him is humorous, but he instantly took me under his wing (he was 8 years older than me) and taught me what I was looking for, as well as a number of other things down through the years. He helped me get my Ham Radio license, and forever K5YPV and WA5TMC were linked. I spent countless hours as his business; we traveled together; we enjoyed our hobby together; and I worked for him for a number of years. For over 53 years, I’ve counted Wayne as one of the closest of my friends.
Over the last three years, we both had health problems, then the Covid pandemic kept us apart, but I always saw a smile from him when I’d show up, and we’d still talk every so often. As his health declined, and the pandemic dangers loomed, it became harder to meet in person, particularly when he was essentially homebound.
Wayne passed away Thanksgiving Day, and one of my oldest friends has joined all the others we both had said “so long” to over the years. Am I sad? Yes, but from what I know of Wayne, we will see each other again. I’m sad because I can no longer just pick up the phone and call him, and his signal is permanently “off the air”, but I wouldn’t call him back into this mess from the paradise I’m sure he’s now in.
So, 73, K5YPV. I will certainly miss you from this place. But, we’ll meet again in a better place where the signals are always strong, the DX is coming in from all over, and it’s permanent Field Day. Keep the antennas tuned – we’ll all be along shortly.