This page from What I Wish I Knew about Love (click on the image to read) shows an old friend of mine from University days called Danny Francis. Sadly, he died last night after a brave battle with Mesothelioma.
Dan was a bloke who lived life at twice the speed of the rest of us. A larger than large character who made women swoon, parties come alive, and footy teams play above themselves. He had a ticker so big that anyone who met him then somehow ended up going to that museum in Melbourne to see Phar Lap’s heart, just shook their head and walked away. The big horse was a pea-heart compared to Franger.
When I interviewed Dan, he was incredibly accepting of his fate, and embraced it with a hell of a lot more peace than I would.
A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be one of his friends invited down to a dinner with him in Bowral, and it was a night to remember. Stories, songs, and a lot of laughter. As always around Dan. While I’m desperately sad he won’t see my wee book – that he was so pleased to be a part of – sitting up proudly in the bookstores, I did get an advance copy and gave it to him at the dinner, and I know he was touched to see his page.
Goodbye Dan, I’ll always remember your generosity of spirit, your relentless energy, and that pirate growl you used to do which clearly said “No Marty, you are not going home yet.”
(Obviously we’re going to change the last sentences in the reprint.)