Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I Don't Know Why

AJ Swope was a friend of mine.

We met via Twitter.

He was a local guy that somehow found me and my 140 character messages to the world.

AJ appreciated my sense of humor.

He openly admired my talents as a writer.

Funny thing is it took quite a few months before I discovered he had exquisite talents of his own.

AJ was also a writer. A songwriter and singer and musician.

He had many more talents than I'll ever have.

We soon embarked on a project.

He was writing songs based on some of my short stories.

I was writing stories based on some of his songs.

I was also working on TWISTED ROADS and struggling to amend a character that just didn't feel right.

AJ and I met several times over beers.

From the first second we set down it was as if I'd known him my entire life.

An instant friendship born of common respect and admiration for he others ability to turn a phrase.

AJ inspired me.

He inspired Lucas Cahill the male protagonist, the replacement for that other character that didn't feel right in Twisted Roads.

AJ answered ten thousand questions about writing music, playing guitar, being a performer.

I promised AJ a steak and all the Shiner he could drink and if he would swing by my house to answer a few more questions.

And help me put the final tweaks on some lyrics I was working on for the book.

He said he'd be glad to but he couldn't make it until Tuesday.

He said he'd also been working on a melody to go with them.

I was driving home from work on that Tuesday with my son when my phone rang.

I didn't believe it.

I couldn't believe it.

I shed some tears just the same.

It had to been someone else.

A different AJ Swope maybe.

It wasn't.

He was a local guy that somehow found me and my 140 character messages to the world.

We met via Twitter.

AJ Swope was a friend of mine

Andrew Jared "AJ" Swope

Posted: January 17, 2013 - 1:00am

Andrew Jared "AJ" Swope:   1985-2013
Andrew Jared "AJ" Swope: 1985-2013

Andrew Jared “AJ” Swope, 27, of Amarillo died Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013.
Memorial services will be at 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, at First Presbyterian Church, with Dr. Murry Gossett and Dr. Roger Hubbard officiating, arrangements are by Schooler Funeral Home 4100 South Georgia St.
AJ was born January 29, 1985 in Amarillo, TX, to Rick and Leslie Swope of Pampa. He graduated from Pampa High School in 2003. AJ was a 2007 graduate of West Texas A&M University where he majored in Broadcast Journalism. While there, he was very active in the broadcast program. After graduation, he was employed by KVII-TV as an on-air reporter, anchor, and assignments editor. AJ then went on to become the Executive Director for Class 4 Winds. He was known for his intense love for his family and his passion for music and song writing. He showcased his musical talents throughout the panhandle with his band AJ Swope and The Last Train Home. AJ most cherished his wife, Wendi, his family and friends and his dog Simon the Dog.
AJ was the perfect husband and devoted son and brother. The love he had for his wife and family was indescribable. Regardless of what AJ did – whether work or play - he was passionate. He was also famous for his adventurous demeanor and his quick sense of humor. His love of life included learning how to surf, sail, snorkel and kayak. He loved the outdoors and spent hours biking in Palo Duro Canyon and riding around the neighborhood with Simon the Dog in a cart behind him. In his abbreviated 27 years, AJ affected the lives of so many through various speaking and musical events. Teaching himself to play the guitar, mandolin, harp and harmonica, AJ believed in chasing his dreams. He leaves a hole in the heart of all those who love and admire him.
He was preceded in death by a very special uncle, Dirk Wright.
Survivors include his beloved wife, Wendi of Amarillo; his proud parents Rick and Leslie Swope of Pampa; a brother, Dirk Swope, wife Valeria and niece, Peyton of Amarillo; Simon the Dog and Buster; Jud and Jan Finney of Amarillo; Renita and Mark Mitchell of Lubbock. Grandparents: Bob and Joyce Swope of Pampa; Carl and Linda Johnson of Pampa, Virginia Freeman of Lubbock, John and Jettie Spotts of New Caney, TX. Aunts & Uncles: David and Susan Boothe of Tuttle and cousins Mandie Boothe Ollinger and Emily Boothe; Kenneth and Jana Ford of Midland and cousins Mackenzie and Madison; Larry and Carol Johnson of Mena, AR; Ann and Guerry Wright of Follett, TX; Randy and LauraLee Swope of Whitewater, CO; Gale and Stacy Brewer of Amarillo; Cindy Barnard of Amarillo; Leroy and Patty Freeman of New Deal, TX and countless friends who loved him dearly.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the AJ Swope Memorial Scholarship in care of the WTAMU Foundation-WTAMU, Box 60766, Canyon, TX 79016.
Please sign the online guestbook at
Amarillo Globe-News, Jan. 17, 2013


Cloudia said...

Oh Trav! That stings. So sorry!

savannah said...

I am so sorry for your loss. You have my heart, sugar. xoxoxo

Debra She Who Seeks said...

How sad and tragic -- so young, talented, loved and gone from this world much too soon. Condolences all around.

Deanna said...

Please know that I am very sorry for your loss. Good friends are hard to find and much harder to lose.

Charles Gramlich said...

Sorry to hear it, man. He sounds like a guy I'd liked to have met.

Betty said...

I'm so sorry! It's not fair!

the walking man said...

That's a pretty fucked up way to die. I hope he went quick.

But the mourning and grief are for the living Travis and as the Shinto and other philosophies say: As long as one person in a generation remembers your name and what they gave to you, they have not moved on yet.

It sounds like he gave you a lot and as long as you remember to pass on what he gave you he will live for generations to come.

Daisy said...

I'm so sorry to hear of the passing of your friend. It sounds like the two of you were close. It also sounds like he was a good friend to have.

Our Neck of the Woods said...

I am so sorry to hear this. I feel so sad for his family and friends for losing such a wonderful person. Sounds like he was very special and talented (I can see that in the video) and will be missed dearly.

Hilary said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss, Travis. Such a young, vibrant life. Best thoughts for his family and friends.