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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Charley’s Last Words

Charley’s Last Words

My best friend through high school and college was Charley Widmer, also known as Chuck, Wids, Wink, Ditmer, Ditmus, Winkenstein, and about five hundred more monikers.  Sometime after college we lost touch.  We lost touch because I suck at maintaining friendships.

Through Facebook and email, I have managed to get back in touch with Chuck.  I missed out on a lot of his adult life. 

When last I left Wids, we were both smoking and drinking too much.  Ditmus took both to a greater extreme than myself.  He also quit both way before I did, which is probably why he lived past the age of forty which when he was twenty-five was one his loftiest goals.

Charley not only quit tobacco and the drink, he also became a complete health fanatic, which means he took up running.  Part of his new life, which I have missed because I suck at keeping in touch, was he had a major heart issue.

I learned of this issue in his response to my recent post on a failed cell phone situation.   For those who know him, his story can only be described as classic Widmer.

While running an eight mile leg of a one hundred mile relay, Ditmus suffered his heart issue.   He calls it an issue, not an attack, but the eventual result was he had his chest ripped open and lots of stuff poked, flushed and what-knotted to clear up what was about 80% blockage.

The cell phone part of the story comes when Charley felt his heart giving out.  He had a cell phone; he was also on the only part of the course that had no cell service.  He lay beside the road helpless and gasping for air.  Runners, heartless bastards that they can be, slowed down just enough to let Charley know they would alert emergency services when they reached the next station in the relay race.  No one stopped to try and offer any assistance until help arrived.

Here comes the part that if you knew Chuck, you would recognize it as classic Widmer.  One runner actually did stop, but only to offer typical runner encouragement.

“Come on, get up, you can do it!”

Charley says he was sure that his response was also going to be his last words,

“Fuck you!”

Then with a little more reflection he finishes the story with this gem.

“Come to think of it, they will still probably be my last words!”*

*Oh yeah, he's still running.  


  1. Okay - you had me worried. Stop that!! I'm glad to hear that that blockage didn't this race and they were able to rip him open and fix it. Jim has had two by pass surgeries now. Scary things. Can't believe they didn't stop to help him. Where was all the emergency help?

  2. Wishing him many more opportunities to tell A-holes where they can go. I've heard that when listening to recordings of people going down in flames the most often quoted last words are, "Oh shit!"

  3. I am glad in had a happy ending. It is time to tell Chuck to hang up his New Balance shoes. Trade them in for walking shoes or a kayak.

  4. I thought this post was going to be "in memoriam"--so glad it wasn't!!

  5. I grabbed the tissue box before I began reading this post, just to prepare....but I'm so glad I won't be needing them! Happy to know that he's still running!

    RUN, Widmer, RUN!!

  6. That was June 2007, 8000 miles ago

  7. Good for Charlie and good for you, too.

  8. Runners always look like they're having heart attacks. But I'm glad your friend is okay.

  9. I suspect I'd like Charly. :) May he keep running a long, long time.

  10. yes, glad he's okay... thought it was going to be an in memoriam also ...

    well, what rat bastards the other runners were/are.

  11. As a former 10K runner, I can easily imagine those entrants cruising past him without breaking stride.

  12. Such eloquence. You must give that man special reverence. :)



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