At the same time, assume you write for an audience
consisting solely of terminal patients.
That is, after all, the case."
American essayist, b. 1945
When I knew Marv at Notre Dame, he insisted on wearing shorts
for every occasion, even on the coldest day . . .
even mountain climbing in Alaska, he found a way!
He did, however, make an exception for his Santa Claus Costume;
he also wrote excellent letters at Christmas
and knew how to follow the advice of Annie Dillard,
to write as if you were dying:
from Marv's Christmas Letters:
"There's a number of people that I wish lived just around the corner, and you are on that list.
You have been a constant friend, for many years, and I appreciate that. A lot of 'old acquaintances' have been 'forgot' (mostly my fault, I'm sure), but you have remained steadfast. Thank you.
I hope we meet again someday. There are a number of 'lost boys' in Chicago, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio who need looking up. Maybe I can make a run through the heartland and catch up with everyone."
"5. Deaths Cheated: My son was medivaced to Anchorage in March; a potentially lethal viral infection; prompt action, by competent doctors, kicked the virus 'right where it hurts.'
6. Friends Taken: None, thank God, and I pray my friend Gary in Afghanistan and my brother in law in Korea both keep their large heads down."
Thanks Marv for these annual missives and for your boundlessly energetic way of being in the world. As my friend Eve (also at Notre Dame during the Marv Years) said, "You expect the lively ones to last the longest and just go on and on!"
But somehow, sadly and ironically, Marv was not able to Cheat Death when it came for him a mere four months after he creatively composed his heartfelt Christmas letter of 2010. For many years now, my people - scape of life on earth has included Marv, up North somewhere meting out justice on the Alaska Supreme Court or maybe keeping his delightful little family afloat on a faraway Pacific Island. How difficult it is to imagine the world any other way.
Friends Taken: One Great Guy.
I couldn't help thinking of this old favorite:
I have something to tell you.
I'm sorry to hear.
I'm growing old.
It is. I thought you should know.
Of course and I'm sorry. Keep in touch.
I will and you too.
And let me know what's new.
Certainly, though it can't be much.
And stay well.
And you too.
And go slow.
And you too.
American poet, 1914 - 97