I’d like to give a shout out to two fine souls, Mickey and Rob, who passed out of this life last week.
Mickey likely knew of me most of my life—so it goes in a town of 7000. I didn’t know her until I joined the local writing group in my early twenties.
She had an incredible humility and sense of humor about herself that I always admired. She lived a unique life with a great deal of courage and spunk, but she’d never quite believe a compliment.
Her prose resembled her personality—down-to-earth, straightforward, funny, and profound. She could spin out a scene so that you knew exactly where those clueless characters were heading and couldn’t wait to see how they made a mess of things because it was going to be funny.
You also knew everything would come out OK in the end, if only because at least one of her characters, like her, knew better than to get riled up about things.
When Mickey was amused by some outlandish suggestion I’d made, she’d always say, “Well now, Rachel, I don’t know about that” with a big smile on her face. She said it with a certain timbre and cadence that in a less resolute woman might have been wavering. But there was nothing wavering about Mickey.
Rob I knew for about eight years. His wife and I started a writing group together, and they would take me out for breakfast sometimes after mass.
He was a doctor and worked at the state hospital—an all-male, maximum-security psychiatric facility—well into his seventies. Given the difficulty of finding people willing to work there, he gave the patients and staff a tremendous gift.
He had this wonderful habit of talking about everything in exactly the same way. He’d be rattling off medical facts or expressing a deep cynicism about the current political climate, and in the next breath, without a beat or change of tone, he’d describe a mystical experience he’d had. Those sudden turns never failed to surprise me
When something tickled him, his usually serious face lit up in the most marvelous way. He became half elf, half six-year-old, delight beaming out of him.
I’ll never hear them laugh again, but if to live well is to always continue growing into yourself, they both made an excellent go of this turning ’round.
Mickey and Rob, I will treasure you always. God speed.