[photo of Doug Turner, Nancy and Jeff from wedding pix]
Adam Gordon, a mutual friend, responded to the news: "The news was a watershed – the last time a contemporary friend died I could respond “he, she, we are so young for ‘X’ to happen”, but this time we are all of the age where nothing should be surprising. Ah well."
I had no information about a funeral or memorial, nor could I have gone to LA to attend one, but nonetheless, it left me with an empty feeling. I feel Jeff deserved something from me, some mention. He was fabulously flawed, like all of us, but was also extremely sincere. When he sat down, and asked "How are you? How have you been?" and laughed nervously, knowing how clichéd it might sound, he really meant it. He really did care.
Gone are the days of staying up late at Jeff and Leon's, listening to "Electric Ladyland," talking politics, or joking about "Less donkeys, more corn."
At his first wedding, where I was involved in the wedding party, I recited some poetry from T. S. Eliot, which had to be slightly edited due to a death in the bride's family, but it seems fitting to close with it here. Goodbye Jeff.
In that open field
If you do not come too close, if you do not come too close,
On a summer midnight, you can hear the music
Of the weak pipe and the little drum
And see them dancing around the bonfire
The association of man and woman
In daunsinge, signifying matrimonie—
A dignified and commodiois sacrament.
Two and two, necessarye coniunction,
Holding eche other by the hand or the arm
Whiche betokeneth concorde. Round and round the fire
Leaping through the flames, or joined in circles,
Rustically solemn or in rustic laughter
Lifting heavy feet in clumsy shoes,
Earth feet, loam feet, lifted in country mirth
Mirth of those long since under earth
Nourishing the corn. Keeping time,
Keeping the rhythm in their dancing
As in their living in the living seasons
The time of the seasons and the constellations
The time of milking and the time of harvest
The time of the coupling of man and woman
And that of beasts. Feet rising and falling.
Eating and drinking. Dung and death.
Dawn points, and another day
Prepares for heat and silence. Out at sea the dawn wind
Wrinkles and slides. I am here
Or there, or elsewhere. In my beginning.