Surely that can't be right, I tell myself as I write this. I am sitting on a beautiful plaza in Houston with a fountain and a giant peacock made entirely of fertile green vegetation. It is a clear, cool, breezy, twilight evening, and the heavenly glow in the atmosphere has me thinking about how I have would like to write something about my big brother Jack, who passed away last Monday morning after suffering with liver cancer for about a year.
The funeral was Saturday, and I was moved mostly by the crowd that packed the small church on a drizzly weekend morning. There were so many caring folks from so many periods in his life that I couldn't help but think of Jack's favorite movie, "It's a wonderful life" where a decent, righteous, caring guy doesn't realize how many friends he's really got until he gets in some deep shit and they all rally around to save his life.
Except this time there there was no saving the protagonist, because cancer is much meaner than Mr. Potter.
Jack was sick for a long time, but I am determined to remember him by the mental image I have of him as an enthusiastic pursuer of life's most golden dreams.
We reminisced alot this week, and in the process I discovered that I was not the only one who had some great stories to tell about my bro. Stories that reinforced the image of the Jack we all know and love, and stories that introduced all of us to new sides of his personality that we might not have been given the opportunity to appreciate.
Jack's interest in computers was something that came about relatively
late in his too-short life, but in a way, he was the perfect computer industry
consumer. He was new enough at it to be excited by the new technology,
and intelligent enough to learn how to best make such a powerful tool pay
off for him in enjoyment.
I would like it if others out there would add to this page with their thoughts, and it could stay accessible for a long enough time for those who will no doubt require much longer to gain perspective on his tragic demise will be able to contribute later. I would like people to think of this small bit of memory in cyberspace as a small tribute to a great man, not unlike an online epitaph, or a cosmic shout-out.
I plan to soon undertake the project of cataloging and scanning the
slides of Jack's rock & roll photography collection from the 70s. The
artists include Elvis Costello, The Pretenders, The Clash, The Ramones,
Leon Russell, Bruce Springsteen, and many others I am forgetting. I would
hope that I could also gain access to some of the photography he did in
the line of duty at the house of reps, since the subjects include such
international luminaries as the Queen of England and Governor Ann Richards,
not to mention several presidents, actors, politicians and other entertainers.
Jack was not interested in participating in the showbiz moments that
he constantly recorded for posterity with his trusty Nikon. He was content
to be the medium, which is such an underappreciated and necessarily invisible
role in life. Jack's well-developed unflinching eye was the focus through
which millions of people have seen some truly grand subjects.
With three energetic, attention-demanding kids like Jack's, I could
see how one would want a day at the office to be as smooth a process as
possible, and I think that is what he strived for in his work. Unobtrusiveness
was his specialty. I would love to hear some more words from people who
worked with Jack.
Here is one anecdote I find especially amusing, but it is not especially
profound or ironic. It just captures Jack's charm at a particular age,
an age well before the bigger threats in life came out to play.
I remember Dad telling me about Jack joining LIttle League at about
nine years old. It seems that due to his non-proclivity for the sport he
was given the position of right-field. He wore big, nerdy horn-rim glasses
and that probably contributed to his skill quotient. He finally came in
from a particularly intense barrage of fly balls, and he asked the coach
what probably seemed like a sensible request to his young mind.
Jack wondered if it would be o.k. for him to wear protective gear like the catcher.
I really wished I could have given Jack some extra-strength protective
gear this past year, he could have used it.
So look, i am just thinking out loud here, but I know that Jack would
not want a lot of hoopla surrounding any kind of enterprise regarding his
photography work. I honestly don't know how good it is, since I am sure
I have family bias, but I am reasonably sure that the guy was a pro at
his work, and everything I have seen is of the rare, straightforward, honest
quality that I tend to appreciate in all forms of art.
Anyway, I won't be advertising this, but I would like to give people the opportunity to acquire some of his work and either donate the proceeds to Jack's children's college funds or the American Cancer Society. I would hope that being able to enjoy a high-quality printed and matted photo by Jack would be worth at least covering the cost.
So the catalog should be appearing here very soon. Watch this space and tell anyone who might be interested that some of the photos will be here for all to enjoy for free.
Most of all, Jack was just a great guy.
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