Thursday, September 29, 2005

A little bit about Doc...

I've never talked much about the man who changed my life - transformed it, really. I don't know why, except it's hard to explain him to anyone. Always was and it probably won't get any easier now that he is gone.

He died last week - motorcycle accident at 58. I want people to know about him, understand what he did, for me, probably for many others, but for me...

Perhaps this will end up being far too disjointed, but over time, perhaps it will also let you get to know one of the most amazing human beings I could ever hope to know.

He has - no, had ( I am trying hard to remember he is gone but he is still so with me...) another name but every so often I called him Doc and even more often, he called me MLM.

"Doctor Frankenstein" and "My Little Monster." Who I once was and am no more is because of him and that is a very fine thing. He was proud of me. That alone was a very fine gift.

Doc collected elephants. When we first met, he told me this but warned me, "Don't ever buy me one."

He offered no explanation for why I should never buy him one but he was quite firm and so for a long time, I did not. Later, I decided, "Ah the heck with your bossy butt, I'll buy one if I want to."

I saw this one...

... and loved it. It was/is made from polished agate from Michigan and it is very small but finely carved and its trunk rears up in what seems an almost victorious trumpeting. I bought it, but then, chickened out on giving it to him for about 3-4 months until finally, in a burst of brave, the next time I saw it, I tucked it in a pocket and then hanging out, I reached in my pocket and held it out in the palm of my hand. He was delighted.

He told me he hated to have people buy him elephants because they bought stupid ones, plaster of Paris or little cast iron ones or and the elephant never looked, or felt, proud. He told me I could buy him a damned elephant any time I chose. His eyes were damp and his voice caught for a moment, then he cleared his throat and we went on as though it had never happened.

Only it had.

And there it sits on his shelf.