Tuesday, November 27, 2012
thurber me this
One of my favorite social occasions when I come north is having lunch with my friend John.
I have introduced you to him in the past. A former work colleague with a PhD in philosophy, and a master of common sense acquired in the wilds and wiles of Walla Walla.
We are about as far apart from one another in theology and politics as two guys can be. Not quite a Jefferson-Castro chasm. But within viewing distance.
What makes the friendship (and our conversations) work is our respect for each other even while we disagree. Which is most of the time. And on almost everything.
The drawing at the top of this post sums up our friendship.
In 1996 I decided to buy a golden retriever. John patiently listened to my stories of my boyhood dog -- Uncle Jiggs. John decided I was far too old to need an uncle. What I needed was a professor in my life. Thus was born the notion of Professor Jiggs.
John started drawing a series of Thurberesque drawings. All portraying the anthropomorphic adventures of my yet-to-be-acquired dog. Each drawing also captured the eccentricities of the phantom dog's owner.
It appears that my concerns about being seen as an Edwardian-era child carried over into my adult life.
I had lunch with John two weeks ago. Our conversation was the usual wide-ranging hodge-podge. Part Dorothy Parker. Part Velikovsky. Part Jeremiah.
But there was an odd edge to the afternoon.
In an email later that week, John pin-pointed the silent partner at our lunch. "This lunch, however, definitely had a different feel to it. You are a person in transition."
I am certainly transitioning away from Salem. If I am ever able to sell the house, my visits will probably be far fewer than they have been over the past four years.
Even though I am not a person of place, I will continue to have relationships with people in places where I no longer live. And visits will follow.
The spirit of Professor Jiggs, in his fez and smoking jacket, would certainly understand that.