His voice was deep; his soul was too. His humor made you rock with laughter; his insight rocked your world. I never got to squeeze Al Martinez’s hand or give him a hug, though I often wanted to. We lived six hours apart, but when we talked by phone, Al, who died Jan. 12, was in my living room, sitting next to my desk.
The first time I ever heard the term "extenders" applied to human effort and not necessarily to equipment utilized by the handicapped was in the office of a doctor who actually had disabilities.
Joe Price had just rolled back into town, looking weary but still possessing the excitable manner of a guy who might burst into song at any moment. He had just completed half a year on the road visiting 104 minor league baseball parks in 40 states, where he had sung America's national anthem to start their games. It was a labor of love and academic duty.
Parties aren't always fun, even during the Christmas season. Sometimes late in the evening, when only a few remain, the conversation can become both serious and revealing. It was that way for us last Saturday night.
Anyone who has never been in the middle of an ocean surrounded by an eternity of waves can ever imagine how lonely it can be. Time has no meaning and distance is a dream on an empty sea, whether you're on a cruise ship, a troop ship, a battle ship or a canoe. It's all the same in a cosmic vision. The ocean is a metaphor for loneliness.
We sang with a muscled verve never to be denied. It thumped through the small Oakland house like the drums of an anthem-and in a way it was. The song was "The Three Caballeros," and we were three indeed, a soldier and two Marines, and we were brothers. We sang it on Thanksgiving Day.
The leaves of the maple trees have turned an iridescent gold along the Oregon coast and in the inland woods, suggesting that each leaf shines from an inner glow generated by the sun. Among them in perfect harmony are the deep reds of the amber leaves, adding to the chromatic mix that creates the beauty of nature's clock, ticking off the days to winter.
There is a sweetness to the distance that intersects with time and necessity to call one to the open road. It comes from beyond the mountains and the far side of the widest rivers, just a whisper at first and then a summons that mimics the lure of the fictional island of World War II's Bali Hai that called the sailors to "Come to me, come to me ..."
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