As we move through this thing called “Life” faster and faster, days like hours, months like days, and years disappearing almost before we’ve realized they began, there are always “stop sign” moments. No matter where you are in your personal situation, no matter how healthy (or otherwise), regardless of how fast that motor-scooter is zipping you through the hills and turns and hairpin curves of your timeline, these moments bring us to a complete halt, often only for a brief moment.

But in these moments, a whole life can pass before our eyes.

Our own life.


And it’s those moments we savor, even when they hurt like hell, because they remind us that even though we can’t change the past—that it’s water long since passed beneath our personal bridge, and that on it we should not dwell—that dwelling on something and remembering are two entirely different things.

And we should each of us value the “stop sign” moments. Cherish them, and the memories they pull forth.

Today is my friend’s birthday. A great friend. One of the best I ever had. And my bet is that every person who knew him as a friend felt the same way.

Because Robb Fletcher, our friend, was just that kind of person.

If you’re lucky, you know one or two in a lifetime.

Always smiling, and smiling BIG. With enough heart and happiness and gregarious love to fill any room he was in. Truth is, Robb could have filled Mile High Stadium with the heart and happiness he exuded. It was just not possible to be unhappy when you were with him.

That smile.

His laugh.

It was as if his very persona dared you to be downtrodden or gloomy or “not feeling it today.”

Stop sign moments.

Like most actual stop signs they can spring from behind a parked truck or a tree or a huge, unique, Pinedale snow plow mountain, but even more than those signs created and enforced by law, moments like today—the birthday of a dearly-departed friend—they beckon us:

“Please stop for a moment—stop and remember.”

And today I have. In fact, traffic has backed up for miles behind me, because I plan to sit at this stop sign for a might longer.


Good memories, Robb. I’m lucky you are part of Life that’s now behind me, and while I do wish you were still part of that Life, today and going forward, I know that’s just not how it was meant to play out.

And so I stop, force Life to quit whizzing by, and I steep myself in memories, pour them over my head like magic tonic. And for just a little while, brother, you are here.

Then, as with all amazing things, the peace and light of the moment fade, Life lifts the brake pedal, and away we go again.

But we move forward a heck of a lot more grateful than before we stopped. And for that, we can thank our friend, our rock, and our future companion.

Rest deep, my brother. You definitely earned it.


2 Responses to A “Stop Sign” Moment: Happy Birthday, Fletch.

  1. Jon says:

    It’s hard to lose people. Death has a way of slamming the brakes on. I mourn for those I knew and lost and mourn for those i never knew. The older i get, the more sentimental i get about loved ones, friends and those around me. I agree we have to stop every now and again and remember those who have passed on and take time with those that are still with us.

    I love writing and earn my living from it but there are times i stop and ask myself, what am I really achieving writing these thrillers 🙂 If i had my way i would write really off the wall stories but those don’t pay the bills. It seems folks just want non-stop action, bombs exploding, rounds being fired, some guy getting a crack in the jaw. I like that stuff but at times it all seems a bit shallow.

    Keep up the good blog posts Rob. Good to see you are still around.

    • rsguthrie says:

      Hey, Jon!

      Man, your comment should be a blog. Actually, two. One on the import of “stopping (or at least slowing down enough) to smell the “, and one regarding writing to pay the bills (i.e. sell the books) versus writing what we’d really like to write.

      I’m like you, I’m as excited about a good Thriller as much as the next reader, but truth be told, blogging really makes me happy as I’ve always had a “dream job” (in the writing arena) in my heart to be some sort of syndicated, weekly columnist. Boy, I could really knock socks with that if given the chance, I promise you.

      But here’s the thing: I do feel blessed to write words that I know readers (and other writers, who of course are also readers) will read. And if I entertain a few folks along the way, or better still, if in a hundred years some kid stumbles across one of my books and it sucks him in and turns him into a reader, well, I’ll really be blessed.

      Always good to hear from you, Jon.


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