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Celebrating Jeff

May 15, 2021

For reasons having to do with Sally’s dad’s decline and her need to be in or near Mountain Ranch, and given my desire to support her as she was supporting her mom and family, we postponed our SLO/Los Osos meet-up and forwent the Santa Barbara Celebration of Life for Jeff this weekend. But, lucky for us (and 32 others!), they had a couple of cameras there and put the whole memorial up on Zoom.

It was a Zoom reunion that would have been extremely fun and lively, but it was not that fun nor was it lively as we were all still pretty raw over the terribly sad death of our oldest grammar school pal.

And….sad as it was, it was also incredibly great to see so many friends, share stories and catch up a little before the official event began. Here’s us (or, one screen-worth of us):

Certainly not all of the Zoom participants came from our school days, but it was great to connect with David, Mindy, David, Chuck, Sarah, Robert (and others who were either on the second screen or there in Santa Barbara, or, in Lance’s case, stuck in a rental car agency (and missed the bulk of the event, but managed to arrive in time for music and connection with those onsite: Cindy, Carol, Dana, Leslie, Cheryl (Jeff’s sister) and numerous others I’ve overlooked.

Sally and I had headed to the tiny Bear Vally library where wifi was strong and free. We settled first into the back of my car — realized it was too cramped to sustain us for the one-two hour event — then moved to the entryway of the [closed] library, plugged into an exterior AC outlet and were ready for the speeches and music.

Here’s Sally in our comfort seats:

The two of us…

It was actually quite cold and a storm was moving in. We left when the thunder started… but were there for a couple of hours. It was very moving and so worthwhile. Sad not to have been there in person, but this was a more than adequate back up plan.

I think we all agreed, Dana’s comments were the highlight; he touched on the Jeff we all knew and shared memories that were familiar to us all. Sally and I exchanged texts with Dana and Lance as the night wore on which felt warm and loving.

The recurring themes of the afternoon were Jeff’s passion for enjoying, and sharing his love for, music. And the Dodgers. And his friends. What was also lovely to hear was how universal people’s love for him was, their acceptance (begrudgingly) of his lifestyle choices and the kindness and generosity of his spirit. Not a mean bone in his body, not a lick of negative energy. Jeff was well loved.

~~

We were kind of emotionally drained by the time we got back to the cabin. I’d made a croc pot chicken dish (good call on my part) so we had dinner then set up a very cool wooden jigsaw puzzle, put on Sally’s Spotify channel (and rotated between that, Gregg’s Spotify channel and my own!) and puzzled for hours and hours.

I loved this puzzle… less than 500 pieces, but so challenging and clever! Here’s a close up of the pieces. You can see pieces in the shapes of a tulip, a shark, a wolf, a butterfly, birds… just amazing.

We didn’t finish it until the next morning, but I’m including a shot of the finished puzzle here, anyway:

It was so hard! And a great focus.

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