By Sam Burnham
I've known Jeremy Givens for ten years. In that time he has proven to be intensely alive. His emotions were open for all to see. He was a constant source of laughter with a sense of humor that all who knew him would agree was custom made for Jeremy.
Such life and intensity contributed to the shock with which I received the news of his passing. Jeremy was not an old man. He was five years my junior and seemed to have so much more life ahead of him. The suddenness is as stunning as the loss itself. Had I known our meeting on Tuesday afternoon would be our last, I would have worked harder to crack a better joke than the one I chose though I'm not sure he could have laughed any more than he did anyway.
We had many great chats about our years at Jacksonville State. We both spent many hours in Stone Center and Martin Hall while chasing our mutual love of history and politics. Though we shared those experiences in common, we never crossed paths until we have both finished our time there. He was a rabid Crimson Tide fan which provided him with both glorious jubilation and volatile ranting, depending on Bama's performance.
Whether he was working, coaching his daughter's softball team, or watching the most bizarre movie he could find, he was all in. I checked his Facebook page this morning in hopes that I would learn that the news I had heard would prove to be a prank, which would have been quite within his capabilities. I was pleased to see his banner photo to be the statement "Live Your Life Fearlessly." I feel quite certain he did exactly that.
Life is a precious, delicate thing. It is also fleeting. There is no promise of tomorrow. If we are to live our lives fearlessly, we can't wait for it to become convenient. There's just no time for that.
Godspeed, Jeremy. Thanks for the memories.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire