This past August, my wife, my daughter and I got to visit Fred Hembeck and his wife Lynn Moss down in the Mid-Hudson Valley of New York State. This had been an annual event for three or four years, but it had been four years since we last came by. I’m quite sure of that because their daughter Julie was about to go to college the last time we visited, and now she’s graduated. She was also present.

Anyone who has been following Fred’s Facebook page will know, right before Father’s Day 2012, Julie’s left leg was run over by a mack truck! She went through a variety of treatments, including several different casts and at least three surgeries.

To add insult to injury, quite literally, from Fred: “Because the witnesses who stopped to help Julie drove by just as she was in the middle of the street fleeing the truck, they didn’t see her moments earlier trying to cross in the legal crosswalk, so SHE’S been issued a ticket!” They have had to spring for a lawyer to fight this, and her college town is about five hours away, each way, so some unwanted travel as well.

Always glad to see Fred and Lynn at the biannual comic book shows in Albany. I’ve heard, though I haven’t seen it yet, that Fred’s story in Mars Attacks the Holidays is one of the highlights. AND I did not hear that from Fred or Lynn or Julie!

Fred turns 60 about five weeks before I do, so his job is to test the waters to see how it is in the land of the sexagenarians. Happy birthday, effendi.

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