Tag Archives: celebration

‘the Wood’

I don’t know why it’s been on my mind lately, but I wanted to write about the way Zach shook hands with people. More specifically, when he met someone for the first time, there was a particular way he shook hands.

He told me once that he read how if you grasped the arm of the person you were meeting, you would create a strong positive impression. He was very interested in creating a strong first impression so that’s what he did. As he grasped your right hand in his, he would reach out with his left hand and grasp your right forearm.

When he told me about this, I said, ok, whatever, but I think it was at one of the ‘celebrations’ that someone told me that, amongst his friends, the handshake was known as ‘The Wood.’ Zach was also know for his hugs but I think that was for people he had already met before.

God dammit, I miss that guy.


I went to a memorial yesterday. That’s what I was calling it anyway. It could have been styled as a celebration of life, as we did for Zach. I’ve been calling it a memorial since celebrating a dead person doesn’t work very well for me.

Lynn McKee was a stage electrician for the Opera for the whole time I worked there, with the exception of one year away at ACT. He went on for quite a while after I left. I don’t know exactly when he retired but it was less than ten years ago. He died earlier this year in Thailand, where he had been living. Lynn was 69 years old and had children and grandchildren in his life, most of whom were at the memorial. They all seemed like very nice people.

Many of my old friends and colleagues were there. Late in the afternoon, when it was time to leave for the memorial, I hesitated because I had had a bad day grieving Zach. I thought I would have a hard time handling the emotions. Luckily, I went, but it was a roller coaster ride.

Several people express sympathy over my loss of Zach but when I asked how they were doing, I heard stories of spouses with cancer, children on heroin, strokes, and divorces. In most cases, these people had a vision of a certain kind of life going forward and now everything was changed. Sound familiar?

There’s another memorial today, for Kirk. I’ve committed to driving a couple of other people so I have to go. I want to go, because I get to see people I like and respect and I don’t often get to see them. And I want to pay my respects to the family of the dead man, just as I did yesterday. We are a community.