ALPHA, OMEGA AND SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN
25 January 2005
Kind of an interesting juxtaposition over the last few days.
Friday we attended the birthday of a 95 year old man we'd never met
Sunday we attended the memorial service for a 38 year old man we'd never met
And in between I'm taking care of these newborn puppies, just greeting the world.
There's some sort of message in there, but I haven't quite formulated it in my head yet.
I love this photo. It's a great picture of the psychiatrist I work for, along with the guest of honor, and in the back, from left to right are: the town's leading columnist, a doctor who was instrumental in introducing us to our Mexican daughter, and a woman I've known for all the years I've been here in Davis, one of the organizers of this party.
Despite having known of him for 30 years and having sent medical reports to him for 25 years, as well as having read his regular letters to the editor, I had never actually met the guest of honor, Dr. Herbert Bauer, whom many have described as "the conscience of Davis." Herb and his wife, the late Hannah Bauer have received just about every award this city has to give, all of them well deserved.
From a bio I found on line, "In addition to working at his medical practice, Herb has dedicated his life to children, to those less fortunate, to those in need and to those who cannot advocate for themselves. He served on the city's Social Services Commission, was the first chairman of the Davis Peace and Justice Commission, the precursor to the current Human Relations Commission, and was a founder of Yolo Family Service Agency."
Judging by the turnout for his 95th birthday party, he seems to be a gentle man with a strong sense of justice, someone who does not suffer fools gladly, and who has touched many, many, many lives in this town, and, I suspect, around the world.
His cake had so many candles on it that a woman from the Fire Department, dressed in full regalia, came to make sure it didn't catch anything on fire. It was meant as a joke, of course.
That's her arm around his back--and as it turned out, since he nearly draped his lei in the flames, she did serve a function, by making sure that the flowers were pulled back so they didn't catch fire.
The party was attended by the people in Davis I have known the longest, many of whom I have not seen in a very long time. I reconnected, for example, with our kids' former nursery school teacher, who lives near us, but whom I have not seen in perhaps years. We've decided to get together for tea this coming week.
In contrast to this gala occasion was Sunday's memorial service for Greg Fisk, who was the brother of one our kids' very good friends. Greg died of Burkitt's lymphoma. He was a geneticist working with stem cells on a cure for diabetes. He left a wife and two small children behind.
His memorial service was a standing-room only event, held at the Faculty Club at UC Berkeley. Even though I didn't know Greg personally, I know his mother, and I know his younger brother, an actor, quite well. Another brother, whom I didn't know quite as well, a defensive tackle for the San Diego Chargers, was one of David's good friends.
It was a surprisingly emotional memorial for me, as just being there was reminiscent of Dave & Paul's funerals. Then Paul's best friend arrived and said he'd dreamed of Greg last night and in the dream, Paul was there too and he figured Paul was helping Greg into the next world.
Then there was a long slide show, with lots of photos of Greg's life, a touching tribute even if you were a total stranger. But the pictures that really got to me were those of Greg with his kids, and the thought of those kids growing up without knowing their Dad who was, judging from all the testimonials that were given today, a very special person.
His brother Chad spoke of his courage facing death and of one of the things he said in his last days, when his doctors apologized for failing him. He said "you didn't fail me, biology failed me." Chad took those words and wrote a touching song ("When biology fails the biologist"), which his wife had to sing, since Chad had a touch of laryngitis.
I came home with a purse full of soggy kleenex.
Of course, between this Alpha and Omega are the puppies, just starting out on life. Already, in only a couple of days, I can see them growing. Toby is the biggest and today was sitting at the door of the cage, looking out, rather than crawling around on his tummy. All three have eyes about half opened right now.
And I continue to be wearing eau de formula, though we are getting things down to more of a routine.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Sheila seems to have an attraction for Pomeranians