Open forum: A letter to the Cranes

Posted: January 28, 2013

To Derek and Tina Crane:

No matter what I write or say will take away the pain and grief you are experiencing right now. So let me do one thing that might at least put a smile on your faces, and that’s being a proud parent.

I never had the privilege of actually meeting Hunter. I have had the privilege of working with you both through our businesses; Hunter was a best friend to my nephew and from what I can tell a very good friend. I was fortunate enough to be able to watch him play football in a few games. You could see the passion and devotion to his team in the way he played.

I seen him get injured during a play once and want to immediately go back into the game. Tina, I’m glad you didn’t run down on the field after seeing Hunter get injured, I always told my mom, don’t ever come on the field. This is very embarrassing for us boys.

I never saw Hunter race his car, but I knew friends who did and was told he did this with as much or more passion as football. They said he was a very good driver and competed as if in a NASCAR event. I know Derek enjoyed working on the cars with Hunter and seeing the results on the track.

As much as all of us, as I prepared to go to the viewing on Sunday afternoon for Hunter, I wanted to arrive early knowing that there would be a large crowd wanting to pay their respects to the family. I arrived right at 1 p.m., and the parking lots were already full and people were parking on the streets all the way to Amherst Street.

After parking and walking up, I immediately saw what made Hunter happy: There was a big F-350 pickup that was covered in mud and race cars setting right out front. I walked inside and the line snaked around three different times to accommodate the friends and family wanting to say good-bye. I had plenty of time to admire the posters, banners, trophies, mementos, and pictures of Hunter smiling in everyone.

As I walked along and saw the Tech, Dallas Cowboy, and racing stuff, I thought to myself, “You know, me and this kid would have gotten along fine.”

After paying my respects to your family I walked back to my truck and was thinking about the sorrow and pain I had just witnessed and, being emotional myself, I called my girlfriend and told her I was so thankful for not having children of my own and having to deal with pain of losing a child. But after some more time to reflect and think, do you know what? If I did have a son, I would have been proud to have a son just like Hunter. As Derek has pointed out, Hunter was his best friend and a dad couldn’t ask for any more.

Let me end by saying, in this day and age, people may be asking what has happened to their kids and note all the problems they are having. Not Hunter, he lived life, he played, he smiled, and it showed.

I have two sayings I live by. One is to live life and tell people you love them every day. Hunter knew this. And the other is he who has friends is not a failure. Derek and Tina, from everything I have seen, your son had a lot of friends. So, be proud, you raised a fine son. Just like we all would like to have.

Clovis Van Ness is a resident of Frederick County.