I wish that I could introduce you to Chris Smith.
We could go to dinner, and he would casually walk in, wearing a black button up shirt, jeans and his Ray-Bans that were so cool, so sleek, so Rock ‘n’ Roll. We would sit there and enjoy a meal and a conversation in which every musician or band you ever liked was put to shame by Chris’ knowledge, love and devotion to, what in his opinion was the greatest band that ever was, The Beatles. You would love him. And he would love you, I promise. He would laugh, because he loved to do that best … well, best next to talking music and movies. Maybe we could watch The Graduate or Rushmore. He would tell you that the scene where Brandon Braddock sunk to the bottom of his swimming pool was the best scene in a movie, ever. Or that everyone had a Wes Anderson character that represented them at their very best and their absolute worst.

To know Chris, was to love everything about him and the way he lived his life.
He lived every day to its fullest. He loved his family more than anything in the world. He would talk about them as if they were his heroes, and I knew they were. I don’t think I ever saw him unhappy, or in pain, or without that loveable, goofy, fun smile. And his laugh… the laugh that would make you laugh partially because it sounded like it should be coming from a cartoon character, but because he made the entire room fill up with the most amazing energy every time he would let out that unique chuckle. He truly cared about every person he came in contact with and that was obvious. He wanted everyone to smile, and laugh, and enjoy good music, and believe that “all you need is love.”

The funeral was exactly how I think he would have wanted it. Too many people to even try and count, beautiful speeches from incredible people (including an absolutely beautiful story from the person I am sure was his favorite author, his daughter Gleeson), great jokes, tears and music. Lots and lots of music. I’ve had “Let It Be” stuck in my head since the service and it breaks my heart. Wow. Just thinking about it, what a perfect song for him to have played for us.

Antwone Fisher said in his speech that Chris Smith was the 5th Beatle. It’s so very true.
And I know that he is up there in Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven, sharing drinks with John and George, catching up and laughing that goofy, unique laugh of his. You deserve it, Chris.

What I learned from Mr. Smith isn’t something that is going to leave me tomorrow, or with the next English class I take. What I learned from Mr. Smith will be with me always. He will always be one of the greatest teachers I have ever known.

It’s funny, talking today with old classmates, friends and teachers, I found myself struggling to remember these little details about Chris. Like when he was reading us Dante’s Inferno and he took on the voice and being of the devil in order to teach it better. Or The Doors CD that was pinned with shame to his bulletin board the entire year. Lots of little details slowly have slipped away, and I am sure as years pass I will forget more of them, and the details I do remember will become more foggy. But I know that I will always remember his laugh, his smile, those sunglasses, and his love for everyone and everything he came in contact with. Oh, and of course, the fact that my senior year English teacher was the 5th Beatle.

Rock on, Mr.Smith. Like I needed to remind you to.

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