I learned yesterday evening that my old friend, debating partner, guitar playing buddy Allen Patterson - AKA, the Whited Sepulchre - has gone to that place where we all eventually go.
Allen was diagnosed with a brain tumor about 6 months ago. After the initial shock, he dealt with it with his usual blend of wit and mockery. We should all face death with such an attitude.
One of the things that as I get older I find I dislike about Facebook is that you learn all sorts of life-changing news there scattered among the cat videos and Candy Crush ads. So it was that I first that Allen had passed - on Facebook. He might have been delighted - he regularly delighted in turning around people's perceptions of the "proper" way of doing things. I knew the diagnosis was terminal, but I wasn't ready for him to leave us, dammit.
I last saw him at a celebration of his life at the Stagecoach Inn - an event pulled together by fellow Libertarian John Spivey, who - like Allen - is a prince among men, even though I don't agree with him on a lot of political issues. As an aside - that's one of the reasons I don't post much anymore. I'm tired of disagreeing with people and politics seems to be an area where it is easy to disagree. Anyway, I'm sorry to say I hadn't gotten over to visit him again afterwards, but that's my loss, not his - he's had a steady stream of folks who love him for all sorts of reasons come by and wish him well.
We regularly played guitars together; he was a hell of a musician and songwriter. I was honored to be included in the band (on harmonica) at that tribute to him at the Stagecoach Inn, held not long after news of his illness got out.
To paraphrase author John O'Hara, upon learning of George Gershwin's death: "Allen Patterson died this week, but I don’t have to believe it if I don’t want to."
Rest in peace, old friend, and prayers to Mary and Fran.
PS - I think this probably looks a lot like what Heaven will be like for Allen.