Your picture sits on my dresser. It was taken of “the wedding party” in Carol’s backyard (eight years ago yesterday): you, eCarey, friend Evan, Brenda, Greg and me, Nan, Holly, and friend Sylvia, with Jaye sitting on the grass. But that was only some of the ”party.” Ann T was there, Mike Vest, Linda, Perry, Patty and Ron, Laura Jane, Peg, Carol’s niece who sang, Carol herself and Toadie too. The gathering was a continuing expression of the first time I met you, back in the summer of 2000 also at Carol’s, and Carl’s, where, amidst a lot of eating and drinking and talking, the gang practiced our “moves” to We Are Family
for a performance at the John Lester Award Dinner/Roast in NYC on the Unity Walk weekend. But in my clearest and warmest memory of you at that first meeting you were standing behind me, just having come back inside from having a smoke, weighing in on the rather heated conversation as to the existence of God, a glass of white wine in your hand which you dyskinetically swung to and fro over my head as you declaimed. I have to confess, I began to pay a little less attention to your argument and more to my imminent drenching, but you never spilled that wine on me.
But, those are only a couple of my memory palaces that you inhabit. There’s singing “How does it feeeel?” while cruising around Maui; my warning to be careful of the sunglasses display in the Union, KY, grocery store only to hear a crash and turning to see you walking away, quickly and dyskinetically, laughing—holding a new pair of glasses; and our showing up the day before the World Parkinson’s Conference began halfway around the world in Scotland and to have you be the first person we ran into. And much more.
Many here have used words like strong, witty, smart, inspirational, brave to describe you. I ditto them all. Your mark has been deeply felt here in your steadfast devotion to the Forum(s), your constancy, your commitment to activism, from Grassroots Connection
and your years as PAN’s Florida state rep to your work on Pipeliners and GDNF. Perhaps one of your crowning glories is “the book,” and your dedication to preserve the words of your peers. You never received the just recognition for your efforts, but your influence will live on in all the work we continue to do and all the play we can squeeze out of it.
I admire, respect, and love you for who you are as well as for the memories. Once again you are leading the advance and we will all follow, some sooner, some later. It is good to know that the dance will be held on both banks of the River Styx when the day comes.
See you there.
We are family!