Ringed by Fire and Smoke

Huge flames flicker along the ridges to the north and west of my house. In truth they are probably 10 miles away, but they are bright enough and broad enough, and the winds fierce enough, that I ponder my evacuation plan should the need arise.

I look closely at the distant fires, then climb into the truck in search of dinner with a friend from Alabama who is visiting here on business.

When I return, I decide it’s time to prepare, just in case…. not expecting to flee, but fearing the loss of those remaining bits of Patrick that I hold.

It takes about three hours, three hours to distill into a small collection the things I hold dear. It’s telling, these things I gathered up, Continue reading “Ringed by Fire and Smoke”

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”

Getting close

In just a couple of hours I will finally get to meet Stephanie’s family. I look forward to it.

At this time tomorrow the final memorial will be over and we’ll all be telling stories at one of Patrick’s favorite restaurants in their area. I’m looking forward to that too.

A couple of days after that and I’ll be home again, wrestling with parking shuttles, LA traffic, and the return to routine work days and occasional friends. I think I’m looking forward to that too, but I say it with some reticence, uncertain as to why. Perhaps it stems from my desire to stop closing chapters of Patrick’s book, as if it would change things somehow.

For now I’ll refocus. Two hours, then 24, and let the rest come when it will.

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.

Three Times

I have come to Mallorca three times this year: the first to visit my father, the second to bury him, the third to honor him with a concert, as befits his legacy.

While here I visited the lawyer several times (it all seems to be bad news), the embassy, and many of his friends.

Thanks to his friends I have seen amazing things the tourists would never find and enjoyed many wonderful meals in the company of the people who loved Patrick most.

Mallorca is a beautiful place but I need a bit of tranquility at my house before I return again. I am glad that I am here. I am ready to be home.