Remembering bygones, supporting IN SB278

While standing today in the Indiana Statehouse Rotunda, I was reminded of being nearly in the same spot in the past, a much younger version of who I am today.  First, for those few times in support of the professional work I was involved with in the mid-2000’s.  Then also for personal reasons:  utmost in my thoughts, meeting Sam after his elementary class was done with their official statehouse tour and then being his private tour guide on a personal tour into my professional life; trekking through the Indiana Government Center North building, stopping to get a soda and Nestle’s chocolate bar in the North cafeteria and then eating and drinking both while we watched the ducks skimming across the water of the canal outside.  Next we took the underground walkway to the Indiana Government Center South Building which was my stomping ground so introductions as we ran into cohorts also took place.   Sam entertained a look of amusement both in his eyes and with his facial expression as he actually saw where I spent my days while he was busy at Sugar Grove Elementary.  Then we "adventured" through the underground tunnel that is a maze that leads from the government center to the statehouse and then past the smell of Weber Grill to end up at the Circle Center Mall where we raced steps on the escalator into the mall’s Food Court for yet another dessert; an Auntie Anne’s cinnamon sugar pretzel to tear off pieces and dip into warm, drizzly, gooey icing that ended up more on your face and fingertips before eventually into your mouth.  The private tour into my professional life ended at the South building parking garage where familiarity returned sitting in the backseat of the family vehicle he was accustomed to.  Nick got the same Nickel and Dime tour after his statehouse class trip the year after Sam did.  Today was both personal and professional for me and it was oh, so different in that I’m mourning Sam’s unimaginable loss, sure.  But today's focus wasn't necessarily “with,” but more so “for.” And to that, I thank Senator Jim Merritt for authoring a bill this legislative session to impose stiffer penalties for dealing drugs in the likes of what ended for our family with Sam’s death.  The three with felony charges in dealing a drug that killed my son has yet to play out.  But in the future, Merritt’s proposed Senate Bill 278 would mean even harder times for those who deal in such criminal vices that target our young.  Today, I was there “for” Sam and young people like him as Sam is “with” me now, "for"ever in my heart.