When I heard the sad news of your passing, the first thing I thought of was the sweat running down the backs of my thighs as we squished into the space between the dryer and the back door waiting to deliver a much-deserved scare to your brother as he came in from football practice. I remember waiting and waiting - giggling and shushing each other. And I remember the sweat. I don't remember if we ever actually pulled off our caper, although I feel we most likely finally gave up.

I remember what a daredevil you were - always careening down hills on your bike, skinning your knees and hands as I watched, cautiously, never wanting to get hurt. You were the first to jump off the high dive, the first to do a handspring - the kid with bruises and dirty hands and the seam ripped out of your pants from sliding down a muddy hill one too many times.

I'm glad I remember you that way - fearless and smiling a toothless smile from sliding down the stairs head first on a satin pillowcase and slamming into the tile at the bottom. After you caught your breath and pulled out the loosened teeth, you went right back to the top and did it again.

I was lucky to have had you as a friend then, because I needed your derring-do to help me not be quite so tentative. If not for you, I doubt I would ever have done backflips on the trampoline or jumped my bike.

You were my best, blue-tongued, popsicle-eating, fat-lipped friend. I know your presence in the world will be missed by all of us who ever knew you. I'm sorry I didn't know you better in your adult life, because I bet you were still a scream.

Thanks for everything.