Wednesday, March 21, 2007

For Richard

Richard was one of the first people in the upstate crew I ever worked with after coming to the USA.

As other people in that office proved to have two faces, the one they showed me when I was there and the one they used at all other times, Richard proved to be an honest man, knowledgeable in his field (which happened to be mine too). Secure in his own sense of self worth, he was not threatened by an Englishman Abroad with a different work ethic as so many others were. If he was in earshot when I needed a cab ride to Albany railroad station I would be driven in his pickup, even if (as once was the case) the roads were all-but impassable after a snowstorm, and he shared his home, a magnificent farmhouse built of massive timbers in a "wedge and tennon" style, with me when I stayed over and had no-one to spend an evening with. I never knew him to raise his voice, though I'm told it occasionally happened.

We had drifted out of contact after I changed jobs a couple of times and it was only relatively recently I heard that he and his wife had separated. That said, I often thought of him and wondered what he was doing these days.

I'm told it took hours to bring the fire under control in the early hours of Sunday morning. There's little left of the farmhouse. Richard is missing. The fire crew recovered a body from the basement of the ruins that will require DNA analysis to identify.

Richard was good people. On a list of all the candidates from that area to be deleted from the face of the planet, Richard should have been well near the bottom. I can certainly think of several former colleagues that wouldn't be missed by many.

I shall miss Richard. The world is a smaller place without him in it.

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