Tribute: Posthumous Letter to My Friend Jeff Auxier (Dec 10, 1961 – Feb 21, 2017)
I hadn’t seen you for a while, even though I walk my dog by your house every day, and wave to you, even though your curtains are closed. I hadn’t knocked on your door for a while, or called you for a while, or heard from you on Facebook for a while. I should have been more persistent in checking on you, even though you never accepted my and others’ offers of help. You were too proud.
When you weren’t so ill you would call me every couple of weeks if you hadn’t heard from me, just to say hi. That’s a good friend. At the end, I let you down in the friend department. But I didn’t know you were so ill that you would pass this soon. And while a city council meeting was in progress, no less. How ironic is that?
So I’m writing this letter to tell you what I would have said if you were still here, and I was sitting with you, knowing what little time you had.
You’ve gotten a bad rap from certain vocal people in this town because you stood up against government and demanded accountability. Most citizens respect you for what you did, and many told you so. You put yourself on the line more than any other local attorney. You’ve been fearless. Thank you for that.
You had your convictions, and I had mine. We agreed, and we also argued on many occasions. We were passionate but never personal in our arguments. We were two friends who could agree to disagree if one couldn’t persuade the other.
Sometimes you’d tell me, “You were right, Cynda.” You didn’t get stuck in your opinion. That makes you a bigger man than most.
When we agreed, we had fun with it. Remember the time I emailed you at 4:30 a.m. about some issue, and you wrote back, “You’re awake?” You called and said we should have breakfast. You wanted to come over to my place and I said “No! The neighbors would get the wrong idea!” So I went to your place with a carafe of coffee and some Canadian bacon, and you whipped up a killer omelet. We had fun at breakfast, while the rest of Salida was sleeping.
And remember when you texted me from a council meeting, perchance I was home? You were listening to “misstatements” and wanted to respond to them with specific statutes. I texted back what you needed to respond.
Then there was our little run-in with the Salida police in your alley. I wrote about that because it made for good humor in the midst of a serious topic.
When your oldest dog passed, you washed her bedding and gave it to my dog. Even though your health was failing, you rescued a pit bull mix that needed you badly. Tanzie will find someone to love as much as she loves you, and you love her. And your beloved older dog Oliver will be safe with your family. So don’t worry about your dogs.
You are a gentle giant with a big heart, a big hug, a hearty laugh, and a friendly word for whomever crosses your path. In spite of the stress you’ve endured – by choice and by bad luck – you’ve always been upbeat and full of life.
But life isn’t forever, and life isn’t fair.
Farewell, my good friend Jeff Auxier.