I met Larry Steur on July 17th 2006, at WoodSongs. Coincidentally, I also stopped drinking that day. Larry said I complained that I wanted a drink for another two years. Luckily, Larry was the most tolerant fellow in the world, and we both got over it.
Larry knew as much about me as anyone, and I knew almost as much about him. This happens when you spend several hours a week walking around Lexington together for a few years.
I wanted to get to know Larry after our first WoodSongs show. He was carrying a large amplifier, struggling a little, but moving. I followed, carrying a lighter piece. When I caught up to him at our backstage destination, I asked, “You’re the photographer. Why are you doing this?” Larry replied, “It keeps me young,” before returning for another object.
The following week, this old man claimed that he often rode a bicycle. So we took a ride. I had trouble keeping up with him. Larry’s bicycle was better than mine, but he was also in much better shape than me. Larry said, “Don’t worry. I will train you.” His training worked. I was riding a hilly eight mile course in 48 minutes last Summer. Nevertheless, we always found time to walk for an hour. Larry said that we needed to walk for an hour every other day, and eight miles on Saturdays.
Larry also helped me with my diet. We kept the same weird foods in our refrigerators. He complained that I was too thin yesterday, I am eating ice cream for him while I write.
A couple of weeks after our first bicycle ride, I found a new apartment, 4/10 mile from Larry’s house. Larry and I moved everything in his van.
Then we started walking.
Larry ran marathons until he hurt his foot. He could walk, but he was in pain after running for a few steps. Pain was another reason we got along. I walk with a knee brace, and my knee swells while I walk. I have other injuries too. Larry was the same way. A couple of weeks ago, we counted all our pinched nerves while we waited for a traffic light to change. But we rarely complained. You can’t expect to feel great all the time, you have to keep going.
I missed a few months walking in 2008, when I had a stomach problem followed by a back injury. Larry encouraged me to get out of bed and return to walking. We have walked outdoors in sub-freezing temperatures, in malls when the weather was worse. During the Summer we walk earlier, later in Winter. We always walk.
For the past year, our favorite place has been the UK practice track. This track is padded, great for injuries. We walk a mile to the track, four laps, and home. We also enjoyed watching the UK athletes practice.
If Larry had one flaw, it was installing free software he found on the Web that messed up his computer. After he installed something, he would call me, sounding quite perplexed, hoping to mislead me so I would not torment him for repeating past mistakes on the phone. These calls always began:
I don’t know what happened. Can you please come over now and look at my computer?
I miss those calls.
Larry Steur died March 1, 2011, while we were walking on Euclid Avenue.
I have had two pains in my chest. This never happened before. Should I worry?
Let’s walk to your house. I will drive you to the ER if you don’t feel well.
Larry died a half a block later.