Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Missing my friend, and otherwise just rambling.

Who's going to follow a blogger who only posts once in a few months or so?

Laughing at myself, I sit here wondering what to write. I'll probably just copy (again) my eulogy for my dear friend who died just Friday past. I can't seem to post it enough. I want everyone to read it and wonder why this amazing friend wasn't in their life too.

So often I find myself fighting jealousy. I wish I could be the one to travel abroad to visit friends every few years, whose children were so well behaved they are never even tempted to yell or scream at them, whose homes and brains are neat and uncluttered. I guess I have my friends for other people to envy me for. I have some of the best and finest friends a person could ever want. Including in-laws and steps. The very people who are classically and stereotypically the most awful in any person's life, and I am blessed with the nicest ones anyone could hope for. Hee. I guess I am very lucky. I'll bask in the envy. (just kidding, really I am not into being envied! I've been there - it's no fun! People are MEAN to you when they envy you! Yuck!)

Anyway, now for that eulogy. Just to give you an idea of the kind of friends I have, here's one of the finest gems. (the font is huge because I needed to be able to read it through tears)


Jack Young was one of a few people I considered my "best friends". I can't believe he's gone. He was one of the first people I opened my big fat mouth to about converting to Catholicism, but only after he told me he was Catholic. That was where our friendship turned from 'good Convention friends' to 'best friends'. He understood when I talked about things that fit under that category in the Creed about "things unseen". Very few people get that, other than the sort of New Age thinkers, and even they don't get it in the same way. We understood each-other's worries about something-or-other we had said or done affecting another person's soul.

We comforted each other about Apocalyptic thoughts, and often gave each other a long-distance headslap.

We had a LOT of fun together. My first memories of Jack are from RiverCon's ConSuite, sitting around throwing bad puns, and playing "whose Line Is It Anyway" style games with found objects, dragging dear Hal Clement along in our antics. He told some of the most amazing stories of the early conventions, conversations with such lofty names as Asimov and Heinlein. His puns were among the most delightfully awful your ears could ever be subjected to.

Once, during a game of Euchre in RiverCon's ConSuite, his ace was trumped by some lowly card, and he said to his assailant in a nasty growl, "you Cur!" I, of course, complimented his zinger by holding my nose and running from the room. We would have wheelchair speed-trials, and even though I felt awful after he took a nasty spill when I didn't see a bump in the sidewalk, he begged me not to call our antics to a halt. Like a resilient child (which he was only in spirit, not in body) that was just a badge of honor to him. He still loved playing "Jedi Wheelchair".

He delighted us all with his vocal talent at our "J.R.R. Tolkien's Eleventy-First Birthday" party back in 2003, reading the part of Bilbo Baggins, opposite our friend Jeff French's Gandalf and dear Dave Blanton's Smaug. They harmonized so well together, no one will ever read those parts the same way, at least to me. I know, of course, that this is only the tip of his theatrical iceberg. But like Frodo, I only knew Uncle Bilbo after most of his adventures were behind him. In a way I am very jealous of those of you who knew him so much longer than I did, who knew him back in his heyday. Ten years seems like a long time, until something like this happens, and you wish you had had decades more.

He kind of reflected Bilbo in a number of ways. He told stories of the grand adventures he had had, but would (sometimes sadly, sometimes thankfully!) never have again. He was sorry for his part in any negative legacies his generation may have left to those that follow. He carried a heavy weight on his soul sometimes, and kept a positive attitude in the face of terrifying thoughts about the influence of the "Dark One" on the world. There are few people outside of monasteries who are so concerned with such matters. So caring and yet slow to judge. A beautiful soul indeed.

While soaking my husband's shoulder for a half hour straight, I started chuckling at the same time. I had this picture in my head, of Jack sitting in a chair, having drinks with Asimov, Heinlein and all their cronies, laughing, telling stories, and groaning at puns.

I have another picture of him in my head, sitting on the edge of his seat, listening to C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton, and J. R. R. Tolkien talk about ideas beyond human perception.

There was a resolve in my mind, about never going to a convention held on Easter.

It wouldn't be proper to be partying on the few days before Easter Day; that is a time for reflection, penance, contemplation of the Lord, and the great love He showed us by what He went through to repair the Fall and save us from ourselves. I never thought anything would draw me to a convention at that time. But this might. Think about it. Like his predecessor and best friend Judi, Jack was a convention fixture. The con won't quite be the same without him. There are many many many fen who will NOT be partying quite so hard with him not there. The proper contemplation may be achieved without a stretch. The Triduum might just be a functionable mindset even at Con.

Then there's Easter Sunday. Celebration. Happiness. Light at the end of the tunnel. That works, too. Jack was SO much fun, one can't be sad for long when thinking of him. And I am certain, from the bottom of my feet to the barette on top of my head, that he is happier now than he ever was here on earth. He's having a party. We can celebrate his life and the joy he was to have around. We can tell funny stories about him and throw the worst puns in the history of ConGlomeration in his honor. So strangely enough, Jack's death might be the one and only event that would drag me to a convention on Easter Weekend.

For now, I must stand at the shore and wave fondly as he sails off to the Undying Lands. I will never forget him as I continue my own adventures here on this side of the sea.

Farewell, dear Uncle Bilbo. I'll miss you until the ships come for me, too.