Christ I’m Chuck

Hey Chuck,

Got the call from Cousin Dave telling me you weren’t coming back from your fishing trip. First thing I did was go to your Facebook page … wanted to see your picture. I’m getting a lot of comfort out of your last post …. “Gone Fishin’”. One of your Facebook profile pictures is of you and your dad … back in the 1980’s from the look of your dad’s hair perm. Looks like Alaska and you two had obviously Gone Fishin’.

There’s another recent picture post I’m liking … it’s your Dad baptizing you in the Lewis River. Your dad was of course a fisherman and also a “fisher of men” in the biblical sense. I can relate … so was mine. You and I and our dads were never hung up on a lot of that scripture thumping judgment and salvation stuff, but there’s something there inside as well as outside of us and this life, it’s big, it’s good … and we’re all somehow part of it.

You and I did some running around back in the day and I’ve got a lot of good memories. That road trip to Idaho … that studio apartment you had with the shared bathroom down the hall. I remember dropping in on you once when you were babysitting over on Halsey St. The babies had been bouncing off the walls for a while and tensions were rising till I asked you … “know where I can get a good deal on a vasectomy”? We had a good laugh, there was a shift in the experience, and all was right with the world again … as the babies continued to bounce. You always were a “life is good” kinda guy.

Ever notice the “life is good” folks seem to do better than the “life sucks” people? The “life sucks” people will tell you life experience determines the attitude, but it seems the other way around to me. It’s hard to be a “life is good” person right now.

It’s easier … when I remember things like Chuck the musician and poet. Who can forget when you and one of your bands took on a misguided church campground policy about underwear with your song “ I got the boxer blues”? You introduced me to The Blues Brothers, Muddy Waters, Albert King, John Lee Hooker, and of course Doctor Demento and the song “Boobs a lot”.

It’s easier when I remember a recent band of yours had three members, Chuck, Tim, and Chris. Reorder the names to Chris Tim Chuck, change the punctuation spacing capitals … and you guys came up with the name “Christ I’m Chuck”. You always had a way with words.

It’s easier when I think about you and a couple of the guys roasting a whole pig for 4th on the farm. The Blue Oyster Cult concert we went to. Cruizin’ Friday nights and telling the cops on Sandy Boulevard looking for car prowlers “they just rode off on a white horse”!

It’s easier when I see Facebook pictures with you and family enjoying each other. You and Deb back in college. You with your arm around Deb, Charlie, Sam, Christian, or the “foreign chicks”. Family pictures of music, sports, Halloween, Christmas, camping and fishing. This life was good to you in so many ways.

It’s easier because I know your birth family. It musta been a great family to grow up in. I’ve spent lots of time over the years with your siblings … a road trip with Karl, another with your sister Deb, and hanging out with the gang at Janice’s apartment. Later Jan married Keith and they bought a house not far from the apartment. Deb lived there for a while, you too I think. There seemed to be an open door policy … and I enjoyed it. Your family is like you, genuinely good decent people who enjoy life. My parents and yours became good friends in Alaska. Even did occasional sleepovers. Who’da thunk. I’ll say it again … This life was good to you in so many ways.

And you gave back. I remember back in the day you were always up for verbal debate. It was no surprise when I heard you were in law school. It was also no surprise to hear that as an attorney your clients tended to be the underdog. They were clients without much money who needed help and along comes Chuck. The crusade evolved and you became a judge. You helped a lot of people. A Facebook post called you an activist and advocate. I wasn’t sure exactly what was being referred to, but it sure fit. Chuck saving the world … Chuck pulling folks to safety … issue by issue … person by person. Chuck in many ways … a fisher of men.

Now you’re taking on whatever comes next. We grew up listening to people speaking with great authority, who called what comes next … heaven. I can’t explain why I believe something comes next but I do. Mostly I use elements of the heaven story to picture what comes next … minus the harps, wings, white robes, and clouds. I’m thinking right now for you it is like the first day or two of summer camp, college, or a new job … introductions and orientation. Ok you’re there … been there a day or two, I’m imagining you having scoped things out a bit. You look around and spot Jesus for the first time. You walk right up to him, stick out your hand and say “Christ … … … I’m Chuck”.

Keep in touch … Chuck … Keep in touch.

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5 Responses to “Christ I’m Chuck”

  1. Steve Dixon Says:

    ‘life is good kind of guy” Well put, Harry! Chuck will be remembered by many for who he was. It was a real privilege to have known him He will be missed! lots of good memories of great times!

  2. juliebooth Says:

    Beautiful. Thanks for this remembrance. I know Chuck and Jesus are gonna have some good laughs.

  3. Beth Johnston Says:

    Tears and laughing. God I do miss that man! Thank you Harry Thank you!

  4. Lynn Pleskac Says:

    Thank Harry for posting this. Chuck will be missed.

  5. Sandy Ledesma Says:

    Kinda wishing I knew Chuck. 🙂

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