An Open Letter To My Friend, Gordon Hake


Have you ever "seen" the sparkle in someone's eyes when you're speaking on the phone? Have you "seen" the lilt in someone’s voice by reading their e-mail? I have. You did that.

How did we meet? Talk about a friendship for the 90’s!!

It was (as best as my addled-brain can remember) sometime last fall that we “met.” My boss is a very forward-thinking individual, and he wisely hired you and Hake Internet Projects (or, as I referred to you: the “HIP People”) to create a web-site for our office. I never knew how much this decision would affect me. I was instructed to contact you; I’m supposed to be the “computer expert” at the office. Unfortunately for you, “expertise” only meant that I’m not afraid to fiddle with computer programs and can usually follow directions (either given to me by a person or prompted by a clever programmer, using a special “user interface” for someone like me!).

I spoke with Bruce, your brother and partner (obviously “partner” in every good sense of that word), who gently asked me to “browse” the ‘net and READ THE MATERIAL that you gave to my boss....this was designed for customers, like our office, to familiarize ourselves with the various pages out in cyber-space, to gather ideas on what things we liked and disliked about certain pages, and to READ THE MATERIAL to give us a “working knowledge” of your business, your abilities, and most importantly, your limitations. My boss is, like I said, a forward thinker....but just because he “thinks” something can be done within a web site, it doesn’t necessarily follow that you could actually produce that thought. As a wise person once said: “The difficult stuff is easy, miracles take longer.”

I remember the first batch of text I sent to you for our site. HOLY TOLEDO! I know you had to be scratching your head over that one! Twenty-two pages of single-spaced text?!?! And the LINKS? Oh sweet Mary and Joseph, the LINKS we wanted! “Gordon, would you mind just hooking our site into the State Department’s??” I’m afraid we were quite green when it came to the complexities of web-site design.

Finally, our website was published. I was so thankful for your knowledge and hard work; and as I told you, you should have been proud of this work you created, you worked very hard on it (with extremely difficult people, too, I might add). It was beautiful, wonderful, fantastic, outstanding!

Somehow, you managed to create a masterpiece of design and function. (We both were so DANGED proud of those buttons, weren’t we?) I didn’t create them, but I defended them like a mother lion! And on another occasion, we sent many (Grins) (Snickers) and (LOLs) when we discovered another site that looked STRANGELY familiar to us both! I must say, though, it was not as beautiful as your creation. Still isn’t.

During all of this turmoil, we started our e-conversations. I almost started to call it “e-mail,” but... was more than that. Much more. Typically, a conversation would start when I would ask you an incredibly stupid question, and you would write back to me with a patient -- and humorous -- reply.

Yet our conversations continued. You started to ATTEMPT to teach me how to do what you did (well, the nuts and bolts of it anyway -- I’m still not sure that I would EVER be able to duplicate your artistry!) And happened.

I went to work, as usual. The first thing I do in the morning is check the e-mail; and I must admit here that I always looked forward to getting e-mail from my “Muffin,” “Webmaster Extrordinaire,” “Flash,” “Cupcake,” and all the other silly, funny and goofy names I called you. Instead, on this particular day I got a message from Judy (your sister-in-law and another HIP Person) that told me that you had been called upon to go and take care of the Lord’s own web-site.

How can I explain how it felt?

I cried, of course. Who wouldn’t? Gordon, you touched my heart. I could have passed you on the street and not known who you were, yet I cried like a baby when I learned you had gone. There was a great, gaping hole in my life. This is the puzzling part for me. It’s puzzling and wonderful all at the same time. I realize that our friendship was certainly NOT the first created via the internet, but man, it was special. Your light and humor pierced my soul. You touched my life, Gordon. Isn’t that what all of us want, those of us walking around down here, bumping into each other? To make a difference, somewhere, somehow in the time we have here?

You made me laugh. You made me think. You made me understand things that confused me (kicking and screaming, sometimes, I’ll admit!)....... And ALL of this through the creation of a business web-site! It makes me smack my forehead incredulously every time I think of it!

I learned something so very important from knowing you, and I want you to know. I learned that I should always, always, ALWAYS tell someone “Thank you,” for a favor done for me, say “I love you,” to someone very close to my heart, say “I miss you,” to someone who has to be away, say “I’m thinking of you,” when they are on my mind and so on and so forth. I might not have the chance to be able to say those things to them later. I learned that I should share my feelings and thoughts. There’s much to gain and nothing to lose.

Gordon, I never knew all that I wanted to know about you; there wasn’t enough time, but you taught me so much, I would never have been able to thank you enough. I will never forget you.

Godspeed, my friend. Thank you for being you. I’ll be seeing you!


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