Everything is alright. Everything is alright. But, I knew it wasn’t. We would come home from work somedays, and everything was so tough, I’d lock myself in my room and I’d cry. I never really let Trey see me. He knew, because like always - I’d bottle my emotions up - and once my bottle is out. I got better about that as time went on...Benton would go in and talk to Trey, keep him distracted-so I could have some time.

Benton was my first really close friend since Natalie. Natalie was my only really close friend in South Carolina - and she up and moved off.

Surprise surprise - I don’t talk to many people. Yes, I have friends. And they’re great. I just have never had many really close friends.

My first was Amina. She still is. We hadn’t seen one another in 22 years. Met up in 2020, and it was like I was 18 again. I moved to Charleston, and other than Trey, the only close friend I had had was Natalie. I know that sounds terrible awful. But, that’s how it was.

I don’t get close to people at all. It’s a self defense thing I guess. If I get to close I’ll get hurt. So, I let no one in.

Benton was here, and when the shit hit the fan...he didn’t run, or hide. He basically stayed and made sure everyone’s seatbelts were securely fastened. More on him later. Long story short he stuck around when he didn’t have to, when he had already planned on moving out. He did everything he could. We cleaned the house together every night when Trey had gone to bed. Every surface wiped down, vacuum, everything every night...Clean.

Benton and I have MANY similarities. We both come from hard hard working families. We both made our own way..on our own. We both have fathers that made poor life choices that affected us...we both survived when they went on with their new lives without us.

Are you a believer that people are placed in your life when you need them?

Benton just happened to apply for a job when Trey was looking for an assistant. He had zero experience. I mean NOTHING. We used to call him the bike delivery driver...because, well, he was.

He was a full time student at Trident Film School - with a full time job at Caviar & Bananas, and a part time job serving at Patrick properties. He worked and went to school, slept sometimes. He applied, not sure how many other people applied-just know there were others. Benton had the worst experience level out of everyone...I remember Pat sitting in the interview with Trey. She was not sold on Benton, at all-she said he’s a nice guy, but he has A LOT going on. Trey was sold. He liked bentons determination, and drive. He felt like he could work well with benton, because he had this crazy ‘thirst for knowledge’

Benton and Trey Studying...the tests were nonstop

So the way he was hired was total happenstance. He started part time as Treys assistant....lord help him. They worked well together though, and then Trey wanted him to go with me to look at jobs he had worked on in sales. It very quickly became apparent that he would make a better project manager. So, he started assisting me. He started taking project management courses, and really getting into it. Trey signed him up for the national certification course. He would come over, and they would study together...Trey would quiz him. If he passed he would get a substantial raise, and go salary.

The first time he sat for the Test I tried to keep telling everyone that he would probably fail (it is not an easy Test). It’s so not easy that you can retake it 3 times before you have to pay again. I, of course passed it the first time...just saying. I just didn’t want benton to get disheartened if he didn’t pass, or for Trey to be disappointed.

They switched the test to a computer. He failed. everyone failed. Studied again and resat. Passed easily.

To give you an idea of this test. I was certified in 2012 and was the 41st person certified...Benton was the 83rd person certified SIX years later. There are 50 tests given a year. It is not easy.

Trey really liked working with, and training Benton.

Benton did what he had to do to make it. Always working hard. He was in a ‘relationship’ that fell apart, quickly. Benton had nowhere to go, wasn’t sure what to do. He had jumped ship without a liferaft. Trey wanted him to get back on his feet, and not make any panic decisions. Honestly I think Trey was scared to death Benton was going to quit, and move to Columbia.

They sat up a rent sitauation for 6 months.

Benton moved in February 10, 2018. I remember that date because Trey and I went to see Diana Krall with Pat(who wasn’t sure about hiring Benton) right around that same time.

Fast forward 6 months. August. Benton was moving out. He was supposed to also be helping his best friend film a movie starting in august.

August 10th After work benton was packing up a load to move, and he was also going to Columbia for the weekend to film.

August 10, 2018 is also the day I rushed Trey to the emergency room. Benton called to let Trey know he would be back Monday to get all of the rest of his stuff. I had Treys phone and told him we were at the hospital. Less than an hour later Benton, who had been on the way to Columbia was in the waiting room at the ER.

Not exactly sure what happened after that. Benton, never left.

It worked because he helped clean the house daily. He kept Trey company the entire way through treatment. Talking about construction, you tube, the new Star Wars at Disney, everything that Trey loved talking about-but I knew nothing about.

Almost everyday after work I’d come home to them sitting in the living room talking about the day, or something - eating kindergarten snacks (ants on a log)

Celery, peanut butter, and raisins were there favorite after school snack. If you haven’t had that in awhile it’s really a great snack.

Trey never really stopped teaching benton. He always had something to show him. He taught him how to grill, cook. Just about everything.

Benton and I had become best friends-we did everything together. He was with me when I had the stroke, and stayed there because Trey couldn’t.

I remember one afternoon in the hospital freaking out what we were going to all disabled, Trey in treatment. I was in a pure panic. Trey told me to calm down, he had talked to Benton - and he was not going anywhere. I don’t know why that made me calm down. We had gotten to where we depended on Benton for everything. Where would we be right now if he had never come in for an interview?

Over the years Benton had become family. In the weirdest way. When Bentons family was falling apart I guess we were there for him...and when our lives were a big solid mess he was there with the duct tape...Trying to hold it all together.

Benton was such a good friend to Trey - he’s the only person Trey would let back into the infusion center besides Tommy, Brenda and I.

Trey will never be replaced by Benton, or by anyone. And no one could ever replace Benton.

In April when I went to make all of the arrangements at Mepkin - Benton took me. We were headed back to the office to sign the paperwork for Treys and My ‘spot on the shelf’ and Benton asked if I would mind him buying the space right next to us so we would always be the three amigos.

Benton had told Trey when I was in the hospital that he was going to help take care of me. That last night Trey was here he promised him again. And when I was screaming about not wanting to be alone, benton was the only person that understood.

I don’t know how to describe it, I don’t know that I want to. I know that anytime I need to talk about Trey, or go see Trey, benton never complains - there have been times he’s asked me to go up to mepkin out of the blue.

Benton knows, and understands me. If you don’t know benton - this will tell you everything you need to know about him - I’ve been unable to work since the stroke. After the office closed we were both on unemployment. After a few months of that we were done, and bored. I filed for disability in 2020. And living off savings since. Benton has been working alone to pay all of our bills ever since. So that we never have to touch anymore savings. I used to go with him and ride around, but it was hard...Because I was not getting any exercise, and I was getting stiff. So now I stay home so that I can walk, and get outside - while he makes all the money to pay all of the bills. He never ever complains. I try to help around the house as much as I can. My newest thing is cutting the grass in sections every day...I get exercise, and don’t have to pay for yard work. I cook...crockpot- so we never have to eat out. Make our own bread...I’m really trying.

But, not really contributing is really really hard. Still, benton never complains. He works an average of 12 hours a day. No complaints. He’s always been like that. He would work all day and do whatever Trey needed at home...yard work, housework, anything. I was in the hospital...and he made sure I was never alone in the hospital. Ever.

Without Benton I literally don’t know where I would be, or what I’d be doing.

I honestly don’t know how the last 5 years would have gone.

So if you don’t know Benton - now you know a little about him.

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