Remembering Eddie Mack, Tuscaloosa Radio Legend and My Friend
For the past 14 years, I've had the pleasure of working with and getting to know WTSK afternoon personality Eddie Mack.
On Sunday I learned that this dude, one of the coolest people I've ever known, had passed away. When a friend called to tell me the news, I didn't believe it. No! Not Mack! For years, everyone of my coworkers has gotten to know every raw emotion I have. They've seen me angry, sad, happy, tired, but Eddie Mack had the ability to shut off every emotion I had but happiness. I'd pass him in the hall and would affectionately call him "Mack Attack" and he'd return by saying, "Monkeyyy!"
As with anyone that passes, we immediately start to recall conversations we've had with them. Putting together memories that will help us find strength to get us through the loss. I started remembering his smile and recalling the times I would pass by the glass door to the WTSK studio and would give him a thumbs up and he always fumbled with what response he wanted to give with his hands but would eventually either point or return my thumbs up!
I can remember sitting with him at a company Christmas party one year and him telling me a fell tales of when he was a taxi cab driver in Los Angeles in the 60s. He would always get the call when larger than life comedian Redd Foxx or members of the LA Dodgers would need a lift to the airport.
He and I talked about my love of delta blues music and how he would travel around the southern states to emcee concerts featuring greats like Johnny Shines and Lightnin' Hopkins.
A mutual friend of our went to see him just before he passed on Sunday. I was unable to go but sent word with her to tell Mack that I loved him. She told him and he smiled. An hour later, my friend was gone.
We took a few pictures together one year and Mack taped the one below, my favorite, up in his studio where it stayed for years.
That is, until today. I took the picture down and plan to frame it and put it on my desk as a reminder that, no matter how hard life is, there are angels among us who have the innate ability to bring out the best in us.
Looking back, I will forever be grateful that he took the time to share stories of his life and his friendship with me. My heart is heavy but the thought of this great man being in his heavenly home and free of pain brings a smile to my face.