“Keep looking up, because that’s where it all is.”
Even though I’m no longer a part of my original Texas home, I still have ties to it.
Family and friends, of course, but I still love cherry ice box cookies from Collin Street Bakery, the infamous “Orange Dip” from Old Mexican Inn, for a while I subscribed to Texas Monthly, my nightly weekend romps through Deep Ellum, and of course on my early morning drives, there was Kidd Kraddick in the Morning.
This last Saturday, Kidd Kraddick died from enlarged heart complications. While the death itself was sudden and unexpected, the reason itself wasn’t, as finding out that he had a big heart wasn’t a surprise to me at all.
I started listening to Kidd in middle school, then high school, then college, then as a young adult. It was his show that broke the initial 9/11 attacks to me as I was driving that morning to work at MumboJumbo. When I moved to California, I found his syndicated show while living in Los Angeles in 2004. That part of my life was a tough spot for me back then, so hearing a familiar voice was comforting at the time. He was a genuinely funny and well-meaning person. Sure, he did goofy pranks and voices with his crew, but he also took sick kids to Walt Disney World every year, and held charity benefit concerts, and helped struggling people out during Christmas when they didn’t have a chance to provide any sort of tangible Christmas for their families. He just did things because it was the right thing to do, and his spirit was both touching and admirable.
He died in New Orleans this last weekend during a golf charity event to raise money for children, so he passed on doing what he loved. I first heard about this via one of my friends on Facebook, and later confirmed the story through another news friend. Despite the two hour time difference between here and Texas, I found myself waking up (before 5 A.M., no less, which is impossible for me) yesterday morning to listen to that first morning show without Kidd there, if anything to provide silent support and comfort to his co-hosts Kellie, Big Al, and the others.
There’s been an unshakable sadness regarding his death. I never met him, but he was so open and personable, you couldn’t help but feel like you knew him. He was a Texas staple, a link to my childhood and young adult years, and that link breaking affected me more than expected. Being that I’m a Humanist, I admired his way to make the world better through his actions. He brought happiness, laughter, and comfort to others simply because he wanted to. It’s what made him happy, and it showed. And the last few days have been a period of reflection and reevaluation for me. You get so used to certain things in your life, and when they’re gone, it can’t help but give you pause. He was one of the few celebrities I knew of that truly used his influence and talent to promote positive change.
I will miss him on my drives back to Texas. His presence was such a major part of my morning commutes anywhere. I hope that his charitable works continue on through his remarkable morning crew and that, when the tears subside, they find a will and way to ensure that “the show must go on”. But for now, I send my sympathies and condolences to his family and radio family, the “friends I never met, but still somehow know”.
Thanks for being such a positive human being, Kidd, and a friend all the same.