zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
My friend Harry was a renowned political scientist: he co-taught a seminar at Harvard with Henry Kissinger for three years, compiled a reading list for Jacqueline Kennedy, and shows up in a lot of bibliographies about U.S. central intelligence. I didn't know any of this, however, until long after he and his wife and I had become friends.

As he grew more frail and forgetful, Harry would repeat stories, sometimes during the same visit. Because I knew he was a tennis fan, I often answered "What have you been doing with yourself, Peg?" with something like "Stayed up too late -- Kuznetsova and Schiavone went the distance in Melbourne!" This invariably prompted the tale of how, as a young man, he had attempted to install a tennis court in his yard. Killing the grass was an ordeal. So was laying the clay. The results weren't very good, and he conceded defeat when tulips popped up along a baseline the following spring.

Harry Howe Ransom died yesterday afternoon at the age of 91. I am remembering how, at the end of many a visit, Harry would simply put his hand on my sleeve and whisper, "Peg, you are one of my favorites." I will miss him.
zirconium: Unitarian Universalist chalice with pink triangle as base (rainbow chalice)
Last summer, when I went to the Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival in North Carolina, I was captivated by the beautiful woman turning pages for William Ransom. She had silver hair and wide eyes and she was so engaged with the music -- not histrionically or showtastically or in any way in the way of the performance, yet vibrantly, fully present.

I was introduced to her at a reception after the concert, but with our first names only, so several minutes went by before the clues added up and I realized I was talking to a woman whose hymns I'd sung many times. At which point I fear I went into stammering fangirl mode, but she handled that graciously, of course.

Last night -- at the end of chamber choir rehearsal -- I learned that Shelley's husband had passed away in May, and that she died on Sunday of a heart attack.

I have Singing the Living Tradition open at the moment to #86:

Spirit of great mystery,
hear the still, small voice in me.
Help me live my wordless creed
as I comfort those in need.
Fill me with compassion,
be the source of my intuition.
Then, when life is done for me,
let love be my legacy.

--Shelley Jackson Denham, 1987
zirconium: sunflower core against the sky (sunflower sentinel)
Having been decidedly out of the loop, I learned about Stephen M. Wilson's death on May 22 only yesterday, via Linda D. Addison's preface to the 2013 Dwarf Stars compilation. My first exchange with Stephen was back in 2007, his first year of co-editing the anthology.

He was amused to hear that my microcosms honoraria were enough to cover a couple of beers. He published ten pieces by me, including this one:

zirconium: sunflower core against the sky (sunflower sentinel)
...who was also loud and entertainingly opinionated Mike, especially about acting and singing:

Forever Plaid, 1997

That's you on the left, 16 summers ago. I knew something was up when the usher insisted on seating me right in the middle of the front row. That's how I'm going to remember you -- you and Steve, gleefully scheming and getting away with said schemes. It wasn't my birthday any of the times you guys took me to the Mexican restaurant where the staff makes a huge production out of birthdays, which is the type of place I typically avoid like the plague. (I do love big hats, but that sombrero did nothing for my complexion -- not that that mattered in the least, since you and Steve were laughing too damn hard each time the staff cheerfully marched up to our table and serenaded me.)

Here's a better picture from that Forever Plaid production, with you in the very front.

I do hope that the angels around you are singing in tune -- or at least as well as those waiters at the Mexican restaurant. :_)
zirconium: Photo of cat snoozing on motorcycle on a sunny day in Jersualem's Old City. (cat on moto)
Yesterday evening, the BYM and I learned that Jack Tollett, a friend in Ft. Worth, had passed away earlier in the day. Jack was a darling man who ran the Waltz Across Texas motorcycle rallies for a number of years, raising a fair amount of cash for the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. He was one of the Chatty Morons (a group of long-distance riders -- long story) who gleefully kept me updated on the BYM's whereabouts during the 2001 Iron Butt Rally in exchange for kisses. He called himself a LBJ Democrat -- something that's come to my mind several times when putting Lady Bird stamps onto letters and packages this past winter and spring. (I associate Texas wildflowers with motorcycles anyhow, what with seeing and smelling them during various rides on the back of a Kawasaki.)

Hadn't seen him in years, but I'm gonna miss that man anyway. At some point this weekend, I'll raise a bottle of Shiner Bock heaven-ward.


zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)

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