Farewell, Beautiful Girl

Perfect is so rare. Today we created something perfect. We created a moment in time which deserves to be crystalline like a memory diamond. My lovely Tracy passed away two weeks ago, and today we celebrated her and all she meant for us. It was perfect; this is how we do things in Seattle now, and she would have understood and appreciated every moment of it……..First, a unique, lovely Seattle setting: a little boutique on Capitol Hill off the block from Top Pot Doughnuts, large enough for us to feel just a little crowded. Then add 50 or so photos of Tracy on the walls, from birth to the end. A few streamers, a few things from her, and an enormous photo of her in the window, her laughing big at the wedding of Cami and Jamie. It is a photo of her we all knew, a visual rendering of her outpouring of love on her family and friends. That’s me, out-of-focus, just behind her…OMG, the food! (I believe in God so I can OMG) Rochelle and Matt put their hearts into it, her with her high-end experience pouring love into to-die-for little six-layered carrot cakes. Too much food for everybody so take-home plates. A cream cheese hoagie slice layered with flavor, all of it looking like a page from Bon Appetite……..Thank you, Brian (I guess), for a memorable flight of beer, and you, Amanda, for consistent wine selections which made onereturn to the table for the others…… The talk: everything: construction on Highway 23, Seahawks lose, babies, Halloween costumes, and Tracy, Tracy, Tracy…….The guests of honor came from the opposite side of Puget Sound, her sister Teddy and her sister Toni with her husband Guy. Having you there was meaningful for Matt, Rochelle, Brian, Amanda, Jessica, and me. They received the love and interest of the crowd. Bob was here, her first husband and beloved father of herthree children. This brought me great comfort………It took a long time to pick out the music, way over 300 minutes of her absolute favorites. The last few to leave got to hear Sinatra and Midnight Oil……..There were children, plenty of children, babies, toddlers, a big sister, and my good friend Jacob who shared his secret name with some of my good friends. I got to dance with all of the little children, sheer joy…………..This is the feeling of now in Seattle. In the room are artists, rockers, big-time cutters, teachers, chefs, moms, coders - fun, funny, happy, creative, rock solid people who love other people and love their home. Will just got back from China; I followed him on Facebook every step, and here he is in front of me, one of the best woodworkers I have ever known, you should be so lucky to engage him. These are the people you think of as being here now, going to the shows, snowboarding, enjoying unique tastes, sharing what works……….I was in a suit. My friend Jim came in a suit. We were the only suits. Everyone came dressed to see Tracy, dressed up as themselves, dressed as men in Seattle do and as women who speak their own minds wear clothes. You should be so lucky to know a woman of Seattle………. My friend Kim came, so happy to see her. You may know her as the woman who invented the Quinoa (meat)loaf for PCC. She is a chef there, top of the ladder. You should be so lucky as to eat food she prepares………..The meat of the matter was me. I played my autoharp and sang The City of New Orleans, accompanied by two musicians from the crowd, one on washboard and the other on train whistle. Tracy sang it to her children. It was the same lullaby her mother sang to her, also sung to her mother by Tracy’s grandmother. That’s three generations, Arlo. There were tears. There were supposed to be tears. As the afternoon closed, Toni and Teddy told me that they remembered having the song sung to them. People liked it, they sang along, that was great; and afterwards I started to glow from too many heartfelt comments………So we all had a drink, maybe two. The smokers were outside in a Seattle rain, smoking cigarettes. I was not there so I cannot tell you who was passing what around……. and then we wanted to take time to talk to everybody about Tracy and why we celebrate her on her birthday, of course, after her death. I showed some slides (I didn’t; you had to use your imagination) to go way back in her life up to now, mostly to reassure them that they are on the right track. Tracy wants them to love each other, to help each other, to take it easy, and move ahead in their lives. The wonderful Amanda spoke, telling of how Tracy had been there for her always. She spoke the truth, and I could hear hearts breaking all around me. And then several other folks got up to speak. Sara, Jacob’s mom, recounted a long list of times Tracy had helped her, making it clear that this was something that would stay with her forever. I know it will, because Jacob will remember Tracy……..And all to soon it was over. People were giving me countless hugs, endless words of encouragement, a bag of cannabis, an offer to work on some music, a chance to visit the boat of a much-beloved couple, and four large sacks of respect; I had to carry it out to the car………I am hoping that people far, far away from Seattle are going to read this. You hear about Seattle and you wonder what life is like for the real people there. These are not Brooklyn hipsters; nobody here is going that way. These are the people of this time, this place, this gem of a moment, this little perfect diamond moment.

A single golf clap? Or a long standing ovation?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.