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www.zidao.com Apprentice harmonizer, for sheer fun. Journeywoman writer, for work and pleasure. Starting point was Iowa, current stopping point on this journey is Switzerland, with frequent pauses around the world to watch and listen to the crowd, and occasionally make comments.

Tulips 2006 for Gran ellengwallace's Tulips 2006 for Gran photoset

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

In memory of John Stephens

John Stephens of Chew Magna, Sussex, in England and also of Spain, died last Friday, hiking with his wife of many years, Pat, and very close friends, in the Pyranees.

He was first a colleague, then a friend, and we had lost touch, in part because John and Pat had decided to do away with some of life's complications, starting with computers. Also in part because I never got around to answering their last letter, interesting and filled with news as it was.

I had news of them through a mutual friend very recently, maybe two weeks ago, telling me that John, an excellent designer, had returned to the painting work he loved, and that he had a show opening in Spain. That was an important reason to write, and I put it on my list for the weekend, this one or the next. John had stopped working as a designer and I was one of his clients when he decided that he no longer really enjoyed fighting computers and large organizations, that life was too short and he wanted time to hike in the mountains and paint and work on his boat. I had enormous pleasure imagining him free of the corporate world. Life is short, he said, and you never know.

I'm sorrier than I can say that I didn't have one last catching-up conversation with him. I would have liked to have heard more about the mountains he loved so much, and walking in them, staying in huts and building fires, sharing a good bottle of wine with friends.

He was a good man, with a big heart and a soul that wanted the world to be right, and he was a hard-working man - he was also bright and creative, and I think that knowing he had a chance to let those last two words shine will bring solace to Pat. It does to the rest of us.


Blogger Expat Traveler said...

wow - ellen that is so touching. I couldn't imagine what the family is feeling. But at least he did die loving and doing what he wanted to do! Such a touching yet wonderful story!

5:56 AM  

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