Daily Archives: June 5, 2017

deaths of children

I spend my Internet time on FaceBook, like everyone else. Just kidding. After I spent about three months last year avoiding it entirely, I came around to its usefulness. I had to prune mercilessly, though. Many people who I liked in person ended up being ‘unfollowed’ after too many food pictures, cat videos and/or political rants. Ashley and her pictures and posts of Rosalie were the most important factor in resuming. Thank you, Ashley! So I have ended up checking it almost every day but the family-to-post ratio is much higher and I can usually get through new posts in fifteen minutes.

That was all later in the year, though. The first three months after Zach’s death it was invaluable. I took great comfort in the many comments of support at the time.

I like to play guitar, so a guitar site is important. I’ve spent time on TalkBass (oddly, not about guitar at all, but bass) and recently on JazzGuitar, but my favorite is still¬†TDPRI, the Telecaster forum. The Telecaster is a type of guitar, for those who don’t know, but the best discussions take place in the catch-all sub forum called The Bad Dog Cafe.

My other regular stop, especially now during the baseball season, is McCovey Chronicles, where Grant Brisbee is the best baseball writer of his generation. I believe Jeremy, who reads a much more varied diet of baseball writing, will agree with me. The crowd of regular commenters are mostly far younger than me and I have fun watching them tease each other and talk about things I don’t understand. When I started hanging around McCovey Chronicles in 2009, there was a commenter named Alex_Lewis who had a certain style and fostered a good repartee with other regulars.

One day there was a post by another regular that went in a completely different direction. Gallo del Cielo was another username that I had also become familiar with. It turned out – follow the link for the details – that he was Alex Lewis’ father and that Alex had died the night before in a sudden, tragic and senseless accident. Alex was 27.

Gallo still posts regularly on MCC with an inimitable style. Tonight he quietly noted that this day, June 5, was the date, and the day of the week even, that Alex had died 5 years ago. While I hadn’t forgotten Alex’s death, the details had receded in my memory. Surely not for Gallo.

Zach was not a contributor to MCC, nor was he a regular reader but occasionally I would send him a link to a particularly funny or trenchant post. He was of course a Giants fan. We had many good conversations started by MCC.

I mention TDPRI in this context because I have posted there a fair amount, sometimes referring to Zach’s death. In those conversations I have now ‘met’ three other men who have lost children as I have. Tomorrow night I will be going to my monthly meeting of The Compassionate Friends, which is devoted to parents who have had children die before them. We’re in an exclusive group, me and Gallo and Toto’s Dad and the others. One that all of us, I’m sure, would give anything to not be members of.

As a coda, I offer this tribute to Alex by Grant Brisbee: In Memory of Alex Lewis. The comments that follow it are filled with further tributes to the kind of man he was. They remind me of some of the things that were said about Zach that Friday in Baton Rouge and that Sunday in Jackson and that Saturday in San Francisco. Oh, my Z.

more puzzles

I’ve been thinking – as usual – about some serious subjects to write about. Instead I’m going to write about my jigsaw puzzles. I finished the one of the Irish cathedral today. It’s a pretty picture but not a difficult puzzle.

For fun when I got all the new puzzles in March, I had started keeping track of the dates I started and finished each one. Now I have completed four and here are the results:

The first was a picture of a Greek village, perhaps Santorini. The box just says, ‘Greece.’ Bright white buildings and a very blue sea and sky. 20 days.

Second turned out to be a painting, which I did not expect. I thought I had bought only photos. It was nice, though, called ‘Cote d’Azur.’ A French town center I suppose. Cafes and a cobblestone street leading down to the (very blue) sea. 23 days.

Third was the Forest Stream I’ve already talked about. A stream running through a forest. Very pretty with irregular pieces. 29 days.

And today the stone cathedral with the blue, gray and white clouds above contrasting the brightly colored houses in the foreground. It sort of reminded me of the ‘Painted Ladies’ people pay to go see in San Francisco. Anyway, only 14 days for that one.

Let me know if you want one of these puzzles. We can arrange something. The Cote d’Azur one I already took to Mom’s but she hasn’t started it yet. I think she likes to have other people working with her. There are several places she could set up at her house but she uses her sewing room, which is used for other things and is small.

I don’t know what’s up next. I’ll let this one sit on the table for a few days.