How we got here
Wednesday November 03rd 2010, 9:19 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

So many memories. He changed our lives. He changed our children’s lives, and for the better for all of us.

Our oldest was going to be in kindergarten in the fall, and the school system there was terrible at the time. The snow was–well, when your husband is traveling a lot on business, what do you do with your babies? Leave them inside unattended? Take them outside where the only place to go in subfreezing temperatures was wherever you’d shoveled so far? If you’re lifting each laden shovelful of snow and having to toss it higher than the top of the garage, only to see it half the time slide right back down into the driveway because you hadn’t thrown it hard enough–and you had the whole depth and width and length of the driveway to do, and then you had to have the energy still to take care of your three little ones, alone, and one was often ill and often cried all night, and there would be no groceries if that driveway didn’t get done. And done again. And again. And again. And you had already learned the hard way that if you drove over just a few inches’ worth, just once, you were going to have impenetrable lines of ice maybe till spring that would spin your tires and flip your feet out from under you when you went back out later to try to scrape it out.

Seventy-five inches. Seventeen days.

So many things about ice and snow I learned during our four years in New Hampshire. New Englanders and Canadians are tough stuff. I am in awe.

Meantime, Smokey, the boss of the group in California that Richard’s was collaborating with, told him, Any time you want to change jobs, you have one with me. Absolutely.

But there’s no income tax and no sales tax in New Hampshire, we’d have to take a de facto 17% pay cut to move to your insane Bay Area housing market.

The boss at home, meantime, told Richard he wanted to send him across the country on a one-year assignment. By himself. No family.  No need for the expenses for the company nor the distractions for him.

It is safe to say we do not remember that idea fondly.

Smokey’s faith in Richard’s skills was our lifeline to a different life altogether. He fought the bureaucracy back East, he pulled the strings, he pointed out the obvious on the cost of living differences, he made it happen.

And his offer letter promised, in writing, “No home delivery of snow.”

Twenty-three years ago, almost twenty-four now, we moved 3333 miles to get a good boss, and Smokey proved to indeed be the best you could possibly ask for. The company didn’t last longterm; the many friendships that flourished under the long-haired man playing the 12-string guitar kept in his office for when things got too uptight, did.

Smokey himself sent out the heads-up recently to let us know. So it was not a surprise.  Still.

To quote his love’s note today:

 If you thought you heard bagpipges yesterday, stopped to admire a
late-blooming rose, or succumbed to an adolescent urge to do something
positively outrageous, you can blame it on Smokey. He would approve…

And if it snows anytime in this coming winter, we know who the practical joker up there throwing the confetti at us in celebration will be.

11 Comments so far
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It’s a beautiful tribute to someone whose goal was clearly to bring good into the world.

Comment by Margo Lynn 11.04.10 @ 3:24 am

Lovely that you were able to maintain the friendship all these years. He sounds like he was a special person.

Comment by Joansie 11.04.10 @ 5:11 am

We cannot have too many Smokies in our lives. What a blessing!

Comment by Barbara-Kay 11.04.10 @ 5:49 am

Thank you for that glimpse of a great man.

Comment by Channon 11.04.10 @ 6:12 am

Snow need for the snow shovels anymore.

Comment by Don Meyer 11.04.10 @ 9:05 am

Ow, that was snowy even by our standards. That wasn’t 1982, by any chance? I still remember getting three feet of snow the first week in April that year.

Glad you had a warm and friendly place to go to, and enjoyed such a treasured friendship all these years.

Comment by RobinH 11.04.10 @ 9:57 am

I could feel the love and respect you felt for this person, in your tribute him, gentle , strong, and caring,bagpipes and roses, special memories.

Comment by kris 11.04.10 @ 12:18 pm

I’m sorry about your friend and will keep an eye out for confetti out of season, though I don’t think confetti is ever that. 😉 Well, unless you are the one pushing the vacuum cleaner.


Comment by Tiny Tyrant 11.04.10 @ 2:44 pm

I am so sorry for your loss {{{{{hugs}}}}}

Comment by Diana Troldahl 11.04.10 @ 3:11 pm

I’ve already had to brush snow off the car here once and scrape frost off the car window several times. This is the time of year I detest. If I could hole up and not move till spring I would. However since can’ I buckle down and do what’s needful. I will say that the prospect of snow is not as annoying when I know my current employer will be reasonable about any lateness due to car digging out. Tough? That’s not how I’d describe myself. You do what you gotta do

Comment by Carol 11.04.10 @ 4:19 pm

I’ve heard so much about Smokey over the years that I felt I knew him. I share a little in your loss.

Maybe we should all do something outrageous in remembrance. Sending you hugs.

Comment by Lene 11.05.10 @ 7:19 am

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