"Severance," the birds of leaving call to us. Yet here we stand endowed with the fear of flight. — Dead Can Dance
When my buddy Kirk's dad died, the last thing he needed was people coming up to him every other minute telling him how sorry they were. The kid was always sensitive and what's worse, embarrassed by his sensitivity. So when he started crying in public, it wasn't just crying it was embarrassed crying which is worse because you feel like people are staring at you and you can't stop. So Pete and I (all roommates in college) decided the LAST thing we would do was talk about his dad unless it was funny.
We talked about all sorts of things and had a good time, strange as it is to say, but there is nothing as precious as those moments of feeling good in the midst of tragedy. It was like reading the first edition of the ONION after 9/11. If felt good to laugh.
I used to imitate Kirk's dad coming over to our college apartment for dinner. "MMMM Hambuger Helper, my favorite." It was funny because his dad hated HH but was so polite you would never know he hated it. He was a true gentleman. So I did a good one at the luncheon. "Mmmmm, jello salad, my favorite."
He was also the kind of guy who you just KNEW wanted you to not be sad at his funeral. Of course we were because he was awesome. He was a Renaissance man who had been in Air Force intelligence in the 60s, he spoke fluent Russian, read sheet music while he listened to classical music and could quote authors all day long without looking in a book.
He used to make us wine coolers with whatever wine he had on hand and 7UP. He taught me how to pour a beer without being a dick about it. One time when he was at our apartment, we were watching TV on this old set we had. The screen was all dark, we had the brightness turned all the way up but we just thought the tube was getting old. So Kirk's dad takes a look at the TV and looks at us and wipes his finger over the screen and comes away with about an ounce of dust. The light the came from that crack in the dust was BLINDING.
He was a good man, but the hardest part of the funeral wasn't our own memories it was watching our buddy in pain. I have never felt closer to any of my friends than when i could be there for them at a really hard time.
Here's to you Garland, wherever you are!
Eff, you'd have liked my dad. He too was one of those Renaissance type guys, albeit with some glaring faults. When he died, I was charged with delivering the eulogy. I decided to be honest rather than go w/ a puff piece. It went over well, which surprised me.
by Anna at February 5, 2003 6:37 PM