One Year Ago

One year ago today, at this race track, in this tower, with these cars on course, I lost my father.

Now, snug in his undershirt, carrying his satchel, with his ring on my finger and his love in my heart, while stewarding the Red run group, I think about all that has transpired since that first flurry of phone calls.

This morning during our flag team meeting, I thanked my racing friends for their support, beginning a year ago and continuing through today.

Here I thank the rest of you.

There’s no denying that this has been an emotional, difficult year, and the practical and family complications have only added to the strain.

However, because of all of you I’m able to enjoy the view from high above the track, overlooking the kind of mountains he loved, beneath a brilliant sun that so nourished Stephanie’s gardens, with my eyes dry and my focus mostly centered on the cars circulating at speed.

Because of those family members that understood Patrick and his final wishes, his amazing collection of friends, and my own support group, I’m functioning as a regular human being, not a quivering heap of grief, though I still grieve deeply.

I am sorry Patrick is gone, but I am thankful he was here. What more can one hope for a life well lived?

It Began Beneath a Piano

Darrell Jonsson from Prague sent this wonderful story and gave permission for me to share here. It encompasses almost 40 years and everything that Patrick loved: Stephanie, music, Deia, and writing. I’ve included some of Darrell’s affiliations at the end, since, as he says, “it gives some context of where I’m coming from.”

Was very sorry to hear of Patrick Meadows passing, I first met Patrick Meadows & Stephanie in 1977.

At that time they had an apartment on the main street of Deia. The door was open and some beautiful piano music was pouring into the street. A young woman was playing the piano and I asked if I could sit under the piano and listen. Unabashed by Continue reading “It Began Beneath a Piano”

Gnossienne #2

I sat at the piano a few minutes ago, as I do too infrequently, teasing and hammering the keys into giving up some sort of acceptable sound. I drifted through a few pieces I commonly abuse like Beethoven’s 7th/2nd, Linus and Lucy, a six-note blues riff, and Erik Satie’s Gnossienne #2.

A memory suddenly came back to me.  I first heard the Satie in April 1986. It was my first trip to Europe, and my first visit with Continue reading “Gnossienne #2”

Today’s Memorial Was Amazing

Today was a very special day here in Cincinnati, Ohio. We met this afternoon at the cenotaph for Patrick and Stephanie, in the Shepard family plot. In addition to Stephanie’s immediate family (brother Tate, niece Alison and her husband Evan, nephew Carl and his wife Brittany, Stephanie’s son Tim and his family Kelly, Zoe, Nicolas, and Jillian) were Kathy, a long-time friend of Tate and of Stephanie, Lee, Patrick’s high-school and college friend, and myself.

The memorial included Continue reading “Today’s Memorial Was Amazing”

About the Web Site

I just wanted to tell you that the website you’ve created and all the things you’ve been writing are lovely. I’ve been reading some periodically, and just now read the last thing you wrote about going to Ohio.

The whole site is a wonderful tribute to your dad, and to the shared experiences, the love that you two finally found, the ways you got to spend time together… it’s all really beautiful. Thanks for sharing it with me, with the world.

Big hugs to you,

Terry

Counting Down to Another Goodbye

In just over a week I fly to Ohio to say goodbye to Patrick one more time.

These moments are telling in the way they deliver both sorrow and joy: sorrow for the loss of a father, joy in the company of people who come to honor him.

This is also another one of those final milestones, one that I mentioned a few months ago, the end of another part of the cycle of Patrick’s existence. Just as there are no more conversations, e-mail, awkward hugs or shared laughter, there will be no more formal memorials after this one.

His legacy lives on–in the music festival (which turns 40 next year), in some of his children and grandchildren, in his writings and recordings–but a legacy is like a dead language: eloquent, vivid, a peek into the souls of the writers, but no longer vibrant, changing, growing.

In just over a week we say goodbye, one last time.

Each day after that we will say thanks, thanks to Patrick and Stephanie, thanks to them both for enriching our lives.

Prescott Rally

On the Road with Patrick in Arizona

I’m leaving soon to the Prescott Rally, one of those “Activities of Daily Living” that psychologists talk about as part of the healing process, at least if you’re an active competitor in the sport.

I’ll share this brief memory, then move on.

One of my happiest times with Patrick was the time he came to Prescott with me in 2014. It was the first and only time he’d ever seen me in competition. Unfortunately, Brian and I experienced a mechanical problem with the rally car (a vintage Datsun 240Z) –right around the corner from where Patrick was spectating!

Patrick had no interest in motorsports, yet he was willing to drive with me almost 500 miles each way in order to be with me as I pursued my passion.

The drive together gave us a lot of time for other conversations, and he excelled at conversation.  I’m glad he was willing to make that effort for me.

Patrick, JP and Jamesons

It was on this trip that Patrick met, in addition to many of my rally friends, Robin and Robin’s dad Bob, both from Albuquerque.

Bob and Patrick were about the same age but had radically different takes on life, politics, and almost every other topic. Even so, they genuinely enjoyed meeting one another, talking about all kinds of things, and having dinner together with their two sons.

A couple of years later Patrick asked me for some details about the sport–not because of direct interest, but because he thought he might use those tidbits to color a story he wanted to write–but I’ve not found any evidence that the story had been developed or even started.

Memorial Concert Program

Here is the program for the memorial concert held on the 13 September 2017.

In addition to the works listed, the orchestra played two encores:

Tchaikovsky’s Elegy in Memory of I. Samarin and Piazzolla’s Libertango.  The last piece was a brilliant choice, an uplifting, energized way to end the concert, a dynamic way of celebrating his life instead of mourning his demise.