Joe Riddle's Facebook page, down the left side of the grid, features the names and faces of several family members.
Among them: Ellen Wright, Amy Durfey-Guernsey and Karlene Durfey.
Family not by blood but by circumstance.
Kendall Durfey, Ellen Wright's son and brother to the others, replaced Riddle on the plane that tragically crashed coming up on 10 years ago, returning 10 members of the Oklahoma State basketball party from a game in Boulder, Colo.
Riddle would have been on that plane had Durfey not answered a favor and replaced his friend in the job the two men shared as engineers for the Cowboy Radio Network.
Riddle and the Cowboys are back in Boulder for a game Saturday, perhaps for the last time with the Buffaloes bolting the Big 12 for the Pac-10 next season.
Naturally, emotions and reflections are ripe. There's this trip. The 10th anniversary approaches on Jan. 27. And besides knowing all 10 men aboard and holding special relationships with several, Riddle always thinks of Durfey and what might have been, if not for a work conflict in Tulsa that led to the switch.
Riddle carried those heavy thoughts until a chance meeting at a reception both attended.
“I saw Kendall's mom, and it took all the guts in the world for me to go introduce myself to her,” Riddle said. “I went over and it was real emotional, because, what do you say?
“She said, ‘Oh, Joe, I listen to you every morning on KRMG.' I looked at her and I said, ‘How can you listen to me every morning knowing that if I hadn't traded places with Kendall, you'd have your son?' And she said, ‘Oh, Joe, I've never thought of that ever.' “And I said, ‘Really?' And that was huge. They talk about survivor's guilt, I know what that's about. And she lifted a lot of that.”
These days, they lift each other.
Wright lost a son, her first-born of four children.
Riddle lost a friend. And then three months later, he lost his mother.
In one another, they each found something.
“We just kind of kept drifting together,” Wright said. “We just sort of adopted each other.”
“It rolled around to being Mother's Day that next year,” Riddle said. “It occurred to me, it's Mother's Day and Kendall can't call his mother and I can't call my mom, so I'm going to call Kendall's mom and say, ‘Happy Mother's Day, mom, I love you.'
“And she said, ‘I love you, too.'”
And so on Riddle's Facebook page, Wright is listed as “mother.” And the two girls are “sisters.” And there's a brother, too, Nelson Durfey.
Unknown to each other before the crash, these two sets of people are now bonded.
Many lives were affected that day.
Riddle and Wright, however, affect each other positively.
“I think it's nice that he can think about me that way,” Wright said. “I'm glad he can call me and I can be there for him, and he can be there for me.
“I really feel like he's one of my kids. He's been a good part of my life.”
He calls regularly, not only on Mother's Day.
She attended the funerals for both of Riddle's parents.
It's a remarkable story rising from tragedy.
Riddle was actually responsible for Durfey joining the broadcast team, finding him on campus at Educational Television Services. They became friends, troubleshooted problems together and split the working road trips.
It was Riddle's turn when the Colorado game rolled around, except he'd promised a co-worker at his day job at KGTO, a small AM station in Tulsa, that he'd run his show that Saturday morning.
So Riddle asked Durfey to swap Boulder for Lubbock.
“And Kendall loved Colorado, too,” Riddle said. “I remember his words, he said: ‘I wasn't doing anything this weekend. I was just going to go to dinner with my wife. We can do that next weekend.'”
Riddle still struggles with the reality of losing those 10 friends but also of Durfey taking his place.
Entering this weekend, he wondered about where his emotions might lead him. And he worried without this matchup and without these returns to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, opportunities to “Remember the 10” might be shrinking.
Without the trips, there are fewer opportunities for the media to make mention. There are fewer fans on football and basketball trips to make excursions to the crash site and pay their respects.
“Those people meant so much to us, to the families and friends and co-workers and all that,” Riddle said. “My biggest fear is that it slips away in time. And I know it's going to, because there's nothing you can do about that. Time does that.
“So going up there for the final time I think, ‘This is it.'”
A generation won't ever forget.
OSU won't ever forget.
And the survivors won't ever forget.
Riddle and Wright, after all, have each other as reminders.
“She kind of took me in as her son, and I took her as my mom,” Riddle said. “I'll call her on all the road games and say, ‘Hey, we made it to Spokane,' or we made it here, something you do for your mom.
“We started a relationship. A really special relationship.”
Oklahoma State at Colorado When: 12:45 p.m. Where: Coors Events Center, Boulder, Colo. Radio: KXXY 96.1 FM TV: KOCB-34 (Cox 11) Three things to know The Buffaloes are 10-0 at home and coming off back-to-back wins against Top 25 teams â€” Missouri and Kansas State. The Cowboys are 1-2 in true road games, with a double-overtime win over La Salle and blowout losses to Gonzaga and Texas A&M. Guards Alec Burks and Cory Higgins are both NBA prospects, with Burks a likely lottery pick.