Eulogy for a Pair
Some folks here at LGF may remember that back in March I lost a good friend. He led a singular life so his sickness wasn’t a complete surprise. He likely already knew before the diagnosis, then fought in his particularly obstinate way. Still, it is never easy. He married my oldest, dearest friend in February, about a month before he died. They had been together like 15 years. She is still here.
As I wrote last week in “What’s Normal”, while sitting around during Irma, I had lots of time to muse about stuff. I thought you’d like to meet these two through the speech I didn’t actually give. At the time, I couldn’t…
So for the two or three of you who don’t know, I’m Stuart. Fran and I go way back. She said “please, no stories” so I’m going to tell a story. We’re like that.
It is a long story but I won’t take long to tell it today.
Yesterday, Fran asked if I would speak at the service. I made a feeble excuse. Like Jim’s sister Judy, the truth was that I wasn’t sure I could get through it. Then I went out running early this morning through the dark streets of Cambridge. The local early risers looked funny at the jogger. These thoughts just came out and jelled. I came back and wrote them out on my phone.
I’ve known Jim almost as long as Fran has. We became friends quickly. Never talked about politics, religion or how to get Fran to do what we wanted.
Jim let Fran into his life which may have been the smartest thing he ever did. And she sort of gave him the freedom to do what he wanted. Probably one of the smartest things she ever learned. Let him believe he was in charge.
He and I rarely emailed or talked in the phone. We enjoyed each other’s company and had good times together. Jim proudly taking the boat (and us) to Hells Canyon. Another time loading a trailer full of hay. Unloading it. Stacking it. Sitting on the deck watching the horses, the birds, the mountains, the time pass.
When his business brought him to Florida, Jim would come out to our place for a visit.
When I came out here or later, Lorraine and I together, Jim wasn’t just tolerating Fran’s friends for a week. We came to see Fran and Jim. Jim and Fran.
That’s why I came all this way now. Not only to support Fran. To recognize Jim and his life and respect his family. See, I know one when I see it:
I found it instantly, lost it and 28 years later got it back. When we got married in New Jersey, Fran was our best man. I’ve been forever grateful to the fates, the gods, kismet, the cosmos; call it what you will, for my good fortune.
Fran and Jim didn’t have the flash that I did. They got on the road and started driving. They figured it out along the way, saw where they had got to and realized they had eased nicely right into it.
Fran and Jim. Jim and Fran.
Yup, it’s a love story.