Saturday, December 15, 2018

On Friends Lost: 'Ere The Bonnie Boat Was Won As We Sailed Into The Mystic'

So there you are approaching your 72nd year floating merrily down the stream, needing to reach for the paddle only occasionally, while filling bird feeders and trying to stay on your feet in the winter and weeding vegetables and working on your tan in the summer, making sure the dogs and cats get plenty of head scratches and your True Love fresh cut flowers no matter the season, keeping your hand in the writing game with a blog post here and a book there, when the phone rings.

"Our old friend So and So is dead," the caller says solemnly.
Far too much of that going on.  But at the risk of seeming maudlin, my thoughts turn to friends departed with the waning of the year, and I'd like to remember them: 
Susie Ambry, Bob Andrews, Lou Angeli, Billy Burger, Beth Gulledge Bailey, Nancy Bennett, Ralph Borgess, Becky Buckson, David Carruthers, Jasmine Clower, Terry Cousins, Michael Crowley, Joe Cunane, Dale Dallabrida, Paul Damico, Tom Daniels, Eddie Day, Mark Delmerico, John DiGiovanni, Robert Mapes Dodge Jr., Bob Dorough, Jeff Duperon, Doug Eppes, Andy Ercole, Nick Fallon, John Felton, Larry Fenza, Bill Fleishman, Michael Frettoloso, Charlie Gibb, Andy Goessling, John Gregg, Steve Gregg, Bob Grimm, Brad Grimm, Willie Hemphill, Vic Holveck, Brenda Ireland, Redz Ireland, Darryl Ray Jenkins, Bill Jennings, Vic Karakul, Dave Kibler, Pattie Kibler, Shannon Kibler, Jerry Kirk, Wendy Knoedler, K. J. Linhein, Jim McCarthy, Michael McDyre, Muggs McGinnis, Donna Manning, Joe Mauro, Collette Molloy, Tom Molyneux,  Dorothy Munroe, Alan Murphy, Larry Newbold, David O'Brien, Mario Pazzaglini, Dale Peck, Prairie Weather, Doug Prior, Debby Roberts, Vic Sadot, Paul Salcido, Rochelle Samuels, Frank Scarpitti, Mark Scherer, Rob Schmitt, John Southard, Bob Stewart, Paul Storm, Genny Porter Swan, Alan Teel, Mary Slaughter Tuke, Nick Tuke, Ed Wesolowski, Bill Windley.
Folks who passed since this was last posted in December 2018 are in boldface.  Please forgive any omissions and let me know who I might have missed by emailing me at  
If I could take only one song with me to that proverbial desert island, it would be "Into the Mystic" by Van Morrison.  It has been a steady companion since I bought his great Moondance album in 1970. A snippet of the lyric: 
We were born before the wind
Also younger than the sun
Ere the bonnie boat was won 
As we sailed into the mystic
Hark, now hear the sailors cry
Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly
Into the mystic  
And when that fog horn blows 
I will be coming home, mmm mmm
And when the fog horn blows 
I want to hear it
I don't have to fear it . . .
Too late to stop now 
"Into the Mystic" -- the words and melody ethereally flowing together as one -- is about a spiritual quest.  (I know that’s true because Wikipedia told me so.)  But over the years the song has become much more -- an affirmation of life for me, and I would like to think for my generation, as well, should we choose to embrace its sentiments, an anthem of lives lived as we float down that stream, merrily or otherwise, after leaving this mortal coil.  
To quote old friend Michael Fahey, we Boomers are in the 4th quarter -- or perhaps the overtime period. 
Life is sweet.  Life is hard.  But it has been a blast living in this Time Zone, and who ever saw this Last Act we are witnessing coming.  Hurry up and hold on and let go. 
I am honored that my path intersected with friends departed, and I am a better person because it did.  The fog horn has blown for them and they will be coming home.

It is indeed too late to stop now.


Unknown said...

I knew a lot of names on that list.

Alison T said...

Lou Angeli, musician, photographer, videographer, firefighter and bon vivant, passed on in Wilmington in 2015 (I believe). He and Dale were both good friends. And oh my, Doug Eppes.

Shaun Mullen said...

Mr. Angeli's name has been added. Thank you.

larry gracie said...

thank you for sharing this reflection ... for a special friend not with us in this realm, i reflect on her favorite poet Joan Walsh Anglund "No man (person) dies ... until he is (they are) forgotten"

i am glad you have not forgotten these lives ...

Unknown said...

Thanks for remembering those from our disturbance in the field.

Dan Leo said...

And to quote another person of the Irish blood, J.P. Donleavy, from his The Destines of Darcy Dancer, Gentleman:

"Bash on regardless. That is the cry dear chap. Through the funerals of friends. Trampling the rose gardens of enemies. Bash on regardless. The cry of any self respecting member of the élite."

DH said...

Excellent, moving post, Shaun. Love that painting – what a place to sail into!

Alison T said...

Oh my goodness, Vic Sadot. How did I miss his passing. Another icon.

Joseph Allmond said...

So sad to recognize so many names... friends, classmates and fellow Newarkers.

michael fahey said...

That is gorgeous. Thank you for your gift. All the best, Michael

Larry Kwart said...

Thanks Shaun, I miss Dave McCloud, and Bongo, each a legend.