Innocently to amuse the imagination in this dream of life, is wisdom
Got a phone call the other day from Good Ol' Mr. Wilson. Our mutual friend, John Canfield, had died last Thursday. I'm not all that death obsessed, but this news hit me hard, on two fronts.
The first is that John was just down here last week. He had been in Cabo to orchestrate the marriage of his daughter. All had gone well, and John was driving back to his home in SoCal. He stopped here in La Paz, spent a couple of nights with us, and left Wednesday morning, heading home to arrive, as he put it, "weekendish". He died in a head on accident on the road north of here, about 3/4 of the way home. The fact that we had just spoken brought home to me the suddenness with which this sort of thing can happen. I was going to send an email on Sunday to confirm that he had gotten home safely, and now I can't.
Secondly, John and I got along really well. We had a relationship and understanding of each other that went beyond fisherman and fishing service provider. Although we came from different spaces, and traveled different paths, we ended up in places not very far from each other. Our taste in and dependence on music for entertainment and foundation were in parallel. Our "nose to the grindstone, but try to have fun" philosophies were in sync. Whenever John came through the front door, whether it was a scheduled trip or one of his spur of the moment visits we always picked up the conversation where we had left it on his last visit, discussing the news, food, music, families, business conditions, and a rapidly shifting range of topics that often left spectators bemused.
Referencing the Goldsmith quote above, John's attitude about and approach to life emphasized the amusement of the imagination. He used the phrase "It's all good" quite often, and meant it. For someone like myself, for whom the darker sides of life are often whispering in the background, his good humor, optimism, and desire to seek out that which would amuse his imagination were examples of a different way to look at things. It wasn't just a phrase thrown out to deflect adversity. John saw it all as good, and fun, and was a proactive participant in making it more so. From my perspective, according to Goldsmith, John was a very wise man. That is consistent with my understanding of John and his approach to life
He leaves behind a wife and children, for whom I can offer only y deepest condolences and respect for their loss. He also leaves behind a large number of people upon whom he had a positive effect over the years. An inveterate Baja wanderer, he had been to many of the nooks and crannies that are scattered up and down this peninsula that we call home. Many that I have not visited, some of which I had never even heard of. In each of these places that were special to John there are undoubtedly people who will miss his visits, his humor, and all the things that made him him. I know for a fact that those people here in La Paz that were lucky enough to experience John will miss him terribly, and we can only try to remember and incorporate into our own lives the example of "innocently amusing the imagination" that he set.
Buena Suerte Amigo,
David Jones and the Fishermens Fleet Family
Sitting here in limbo, waiting for the dice to roll,
Sitting here in limbo, with some time to search my soul
The Christmas vortex has swept down from the north, a juggernaut of good cheer and emotional current near the breaker limit. A blitzkrieg of children strung out on legends of scarlet clad fat men swarming down their nonexistent chimneys. Parents wrought with standards of delivery set by global marketing groups, gathering in cells to self medicate like jonestown sub stations. Here in the Baja we do not even have the earthworks of Thanksgiving to break the festive wind. As soon as the halloween sugar high has begun to subside mounds of alien plant species begin to pile up in department stores, parking lots, and normally vacant lots. Families from the outlying areas bring their young children on a pilgrimage to view these foreign flora that many of the younger and non traveled have never seen. Conifers and pines, an occasional cedar, under strewn with a carpeting layer of the red leafed harbingers of the holiday, the poinsettia. Walking through this faux forest, inhaling a smell that they have previously only identified with a clean bathroom, they choose a victim with whom to share their household for the next 2-3 weeks, and have it ceremoniously "chopped". They haul it home to be re-erected, and decorated to celebrate the repeating rebirth of the tree. At this point christmas here and where you are follow closely aligned parallel paths, and you know the rest of the story......
A bit grinchly of late, eh? Well of course, as a curmudgeon in training i follow the traditional script. I must admit that this festive time is a bit like disassembling a stephen king designed matroyshka doll. As you peel your way down through the layers of holiday wrapping a pleasant core reveals itself, much like the legendary soft centered nougat. Family returning and friends sitting around taking a breath after scaling the christmas peak. Our christmas board, replete with things both traditional and uniquely local, groans along with the rest of us. Sugar cookies sharing attention with seared tuna in pineapple/serrano chile sauce, Gerry holding forth even without a microphone, lentils for Val, eggplant from Eileen, and conversation in at least two languages. Mulled tequila? Not yet, but hmmm.....
After all the furious preparation, the pinche aguinaldos (the involuntary christmas bonuses for policemen and garbage collectors alike), the frantic muleing of presents for Enriques' kids, and the dyspepsia caused by an intake of toxic comestibles that equals the total of the other 50 weeks in the year, we arrive at that which is really what we all really want this to be about, hearing your children chattering with their friends, listening to your beloved laughing over shopping stories with Mimi, watching those that you care about enjoying themselves, relaxed, comfortable, and not needing or wanting to be anywhere else.
That's a little more Christmasy, eh? As with every year we wade through the commercial effluvia, and arrive at the essence of the season. We hope that you have all successfully made the journey, and have enjoyed that which is enjoyable, and begun your carbohydrate detox. In terms of your company and patronage this time of year has always been somewhat barren, but like Chaunceys' garden, the spring will bring forth the new growth, the familiar flowers of your presence will bloom with the increasing hours of the sun. After you've put away the strings of lights, some of which may even work next year, we hope that at least a few of your thoughts will turn to the good times, good fishing, and good company that we, and you, know that La Paz can provide.
Take care, have a great new year, come down and see us when you can,
David jones and the whole Fishermens' Fleet Family
P.S. And this year, a special bit of holiday warmth to Scotty, El Passportero, and our great joy that he is recovering from some scary bits.
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