An Ode to Frank “Chops” Lalama

Written on Friday, October 1, 2010 at 2:06 p.m.

Yesterday I silently said good bye to a friend in a room filled with so many people that the air was struggling to fill my lungs. He passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. He had something I realized… and it dawned on me yesterday as I drove to the bar [Papa Duke’s] he frequented so often. So I was reminiscing… and then it came. Like a hand from God. This one was easy… as it happened with me around dozens of times. Chops was FAMOUS for his loud howls, bird caws and backward breathing laughter. It was his status symbol and it was contagious. He lived life like no other. He had no list… no agenda. He gave so much to so many without expectation and not one single person who ever met him could escape his generosity. His heart was pure.

Chops and I were never the best of friends. Our conversations were usually sports-related. But there was never a time when I wasn’t greeted with a hearty welcome and a confident smile. He was larger than life… and I observed him as I would anyone with such a voracious appetite for the things that make life worth living. Without knowing, he taught me to appreciate the simple things— the significance of a damn good field goal kicker, a frosty mug of Guinness, the mathmatical logistics of the “point spread” in any sport. And when he celebrated his 40th birthday, I was the one who drove like an insane person to make sure that he had a birthday cake fit for a king. Mostly, Chops (unknowingly) taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty. I wish we could have been closer… but things like work and time and family obligations tend to snuff out the candles of what should have been.

As you grow older, you’ll find the only things you regret are the things you didn’t do… because in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. Frank “Chops” Lalama, 40, of Center Township, died on Thursday, September 30th, 2010, in Heritage Valley Hospital in Beaver, Pennsylvania…. but oh how he truly lived.

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~ by upbeatmag on March 31, 2011.

2 Responses to “An Ode to Frank “Chops” Lalama”

  1. Very very nice…I heard about this ode to my brother before….but never had the courage to read it until I just came across it today. THANK YOU.

    • You are more than welcome. Your brother was loved by so many people. I feel your loss and hope that you are coping somehow. It’s a process, give yourself what you need and allow yourself to “feel”… it’s why we are here.

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