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Chris Rhine

Chris Rhine

We lost my best friend Danny in 2004, Danny and I had known each other since first grade and our birthdays were three days apart. He had been the bass player in most of the serious bands I have been in. It was he that didn’t like it when I gave up music to be a husband and father. He dragged my ass back into the studio and made me play. He contracted HIV in 1987 and back then not a lot was known about it so I thought he was gone. He didn’t let it bother him though and kept on with his life. Things kept on as usual until 1999 when I got a call from his partner that he was in the hospital. He had come down with spinal meningitis and now had full blown AIDS. I went to the top of a hill overlooking the Pacific with a bottle and a guitar and didn’t come down again until I had written a song for him. Then I went to visit him in the hospital. It was really hard. He was totally out of it, but did know I was there. I gave the song I had written to his mother and left thinking I would never see him again. Wrong, he somehow pulled through and the next time I saw him was in a wheel chair at the Hollywood Bowl for the Bob Dylan/Paul Simon concert and he kept getting better to the point where you could forget he was sick. Life went back to normal for another few years. Then, at 7:00 a.m. on May 25, 2004 my son knocked my door and said Danny’s mother was on the phone. My heart dropped to my feet and I just said, “Oh no.” It was the news I had dreaded all of those years, He had just passed away on the operating table during a procedure for a clot in his lungs. That year a large group of us including my wife, son and daughter, Danny’s father and some friends were organized by his partner in a group for the annual AIDS walk. We all wore T-Shirts with his picture on it. I have been walking every year since then, but the group kept getting smaller until finally it was just me. For the last couple of years Heidi has walked again and she is planning on going this year too. I will keep going as long as I can walk though, or until they cure that horrible disease.

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