"Take care of yourselves and each other, and always remember my motto:
Itís ok to work hard, as long as you play harder."

-Joe Milligan,
in an email to his parents 7/02

charlie smith
December 4, 2002
2:01 AM

I have waited to post a memory of joey for so long because i was in complete denial and did not want to confront my own feelings of another friends passing. I first met Joe last winter at bond university and he was one of my best friends in and out of the water. Whenever we saw each other at school we could easily convince ourselves that going to check the surf was a much better use of time than going to class, and looking back it was. His big grin was too much and he always cracked me up with his little sayings and his constant appreciation of good looking women. He was supposed to come visit me out in Cali this winter and i guess i still feel like he's going to, but this tragedy changed all that. I'd like to think that he's in some surfer's paradise in heaven surrounded by the things he loved most. But luckily for him that is how he spent his time on earth, around good buddies, good times and great waves. I feel so sorry for his parents whom i have not have the pleasure of meeting, I hope they can find the strength to survive emotionally after the nightmare that has befallen them.
My last time in person with Joe was the day i left Australia, I gave him my car that i was to lazy to sell, and said goodbye. He emailed occasionally when he had the time and was always good about keeping in touch. Before I left, Joe, his roommate Jordan, Tyler my friend Ian and myself set out on a month long road trip in new south wales. It was one of the best experiences of my life, uncrowded beaches and basically paradise on earth is what we found. He introduced me to his favorite "sweet Thai chili sauce" that he put on literally everything. And showed us all the secret spots he knew of with his 4by4 subaru known as "scooby" which served us faithfully until on the way home it stopped running. We called some road service guy who said it was done for. Joe took a look at it and was like alright lets take everything out pile in the van and leave it, and that is what we did. The best times i spent with Joe were charging to the beach in scooby, comparing music, stopping for redbull and wax and of course finally arriving at the beach to see perfect right tubes peeling down the sandbar. All I can think of now to honor Joe is too live my life with my priorities straight. and not to get caught up in the rat race of modern American corporate culture and the pressures of a media frenzied fear infected population. Joe is one who appreciates the simple things in life, and i think he knew what brought him real pleasure in this world. I also have classic video of our trip and him surfing that I am going to send. I want to go on and on forever about all the funny idiosyncrasies that Joe had, and believe me I could, but the person I really knew as Joe was just an honest fun loving individual who never "harshed one's mellow" and was always around if you needed him. I wish i could go back to the places we traveled together with him it was such an awesome and eye opening experience to be that far away from everything with each other. The one day I vividly remember was one of the last of the trip. It was at treachery beach and the surf was just the right size and light offshore. It was right before sunset and half the sky was an eerie gold and orange with hints of light blue and defined rays of sunlight. In the other corner approaching fast from the south was a huge mutating shape shifting black and gray cloud that was coming right toward us. green and red lightening cracked down on the ocean as a crimson rain fell from the cloud at the top of the beach. It was really one of the most breathtaking natural events that i have witnessed, and the whole time we played like children in the waves while this behemoth of a storm made its way toward us. the bright white sand turned a cold gray as the rain poured down and the black contrived remnants of trees seemed to beckon us back to land. But Joe kept on surfing and we did not go in until the lightening was directly above us. The singular cloud had now taken over our perspective and was swirling on two sides in multi colors, behind it were traces of bright pink and yellow that the sun had left behind. I am skeptical of god and religion, but this and other days where the earth seems to miraculous to believe makes me think otherwise. Let us all live each day with smiles and memories of the past, hope for the future, and like Joe a understanding that the present is the only real time you have. love and prayers to all, take it easy.

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