July 6, 2007

Jim Joins Jelly Roll

Our friend Jim died Wednesday morning, peacefully.

He was a wonderful soul. Quite a few people, in Portland and in various spots around the world, knew him for his love of jazz. He had his own show on KBOO, and was often swapping hard-to-find sets with other aficionados. Actually, whenever I called to talk to Jim or Laurie in the last few weeks as he was in and out of hospital and rehabilitation center, the music was always there in the background. He even had the pleasure of a trio of his performing friends, who came to play for him in his room at St. Vincent's (Laurie reported that the staff kept "finding reasons" to drop into his room while they were there!)

He was generous with his time, and loved to spend an afternoon (or evening; Jim was a true night owl) with one of his children (and their children) whenever he could. Books were another pleasure (we shared a love of Dickens, and bemoaned from time to time that we had no new Dickens novels to look forward to!)

He was honest, and gentle, and kind, and the world is a little darker now. I'm reminded of Aldous Huxley's famous words as he approached his own aging and death: "...I really don't have anything more profound to pass on by way of advice than, 'Try to be a little kinder.'" It's always hard to describe someone's personality in few words; the best image I have of what he was like was a mostly tree-shadowed mountain lake. Not so big that you can't see the other side, but just right for paddling a canoe on, and perhaps swimming in the sunny edge of it, and then sleeping comfortably, without fear, nearby. He had that quality of flexible stillness about him.

I plan to spend some chunks of time away next week, staying with and hopefully helping Laurie.

1 comment:

Tami said...

I'm so sorry, Ginger. The world always seems so hollow and empty with the loss of a friend.

You are so sweet to help Laurie during this time.