Saturday, December 02, 2017

dying alone

Scott Parks is dead.

To some of you the name may not mean anything. You may have known him better as Sparks, the author of Melaque on the Costalegre and Sparks Mexico. For a brief period, he started his own message board when he had a spat with the community board. But, he soon abandoned it.

Like most people around here, I first met Scott through his online writings. In the late 2000s,  I started looking for places in Mexico to retire. Scott's blog proved to be a great source of information. Some of his pieces were helpful; some less so. But, he gave me enough information to let me know the questions I should be asking.

For better or worse, I ended up in this area of Mexico in 2009. At that time, Scott lived right around the corner from me.

He had moved down from Seattle. I had moved from Oregon. Ad that geographical connection was enough for us to strike up a casual acquaintance.

Even though we had frequent lunches and conversations, "casual acquaintances" is what we remained. We were close enough that he would borrow money from me (when he lost his wallet) or accept rides to Manzanillo. Neither one of us had personalities that formed quick friendships.

And we quickly learned each other's boundaries. His van brandished a Kerry-Edwards sticker five years after the pair had lost their run for the White House. But it was symbolic of one of his strongest personality traits -- persistence. Detractors would call it stubbornness. I call it "being human."

I also discovered, once again, that judging a man by his bumper is a fool's mission. Kerry and Edwards were noticeably to Scott's right. But, they were Not Bush.

In the last election, he was just as consistent. He did not care for Hillary Clinton. But, she was Someone Other Than Trump.

My politics frustrated him. He loved starting sentences with "Of course, you believe" painting me as Attila's Chuck Colson. Half of the time he was wrong.

But, when it moved to Mexico, he was a true believer in this country. Anyone who read his blog knew he had strong opinions about northern visitors -- especially those who were deaf to Mexican culture.

He loved the country. He loved the people.

Like most of us, Scott was searching for a place where he would belong. And he wanted to belong with Mexicans. That desire ending up costing him a good deal of money in an unconditional act of trust that was unrequited.

Instead of turning his loss into hate, he moved on. Literally. He left the pleasures of the beach in Villa Obregon and moved inland to a much poorer village where he seemed to find purpose amongst his Mexican neighbors. Essentially transforming himself into a Mexican grandfather offering care and love to a local family -- including transporting a disabled child to and from school each day.

I last saw Scott two days before he died. His van was parked outside an abarrotes in San Patricio. I saw him walking out of the grocery stiff-legged with his arms held out in front of him as if he were having trouble with his balance.

I almost stopped to see if he needed help. I didn't. To this day, I do not know if what I saw was a prelude to his death.

We can all learn lessons from the lives around us. But Scott's death has grabbed my attention.

Scott was single and lived alone. As do I.

If I understand the story correctly, he had been dead a couple of days before his body was found in his bed. A neighbor contacted his sister in The States to tell her of the death.

By some odd coincidence, our local message board had just hosted a thread on the importance of creating a personal plan for emergencies and death that someone could initiate if the need be. I am currently putting one together. When I gather enough information, I will share some ideas. I hope you will add more.

And, Scott, I am going to miss our thrusts and parries. Thanks for the pieces of good information you passed my way. Maybe we will pass one another again elsewhere.

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