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June 18, 2013

My View:

He loved the mad ones.

The ones his beloved Jack Kerouac said were “mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved. Who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars...”

Richard Gaines found those words by Kerouac on a poster and framed that poster and hung it in a place of honor, so no one who walked through his front door could miss it.

Richard was not, to put it mildly, much on religion. But that poster was for him religious, and its words were a holy credo, and he lived that credo every minute, hour and day of his life. His life was not nearly as long as those of us who loved him wished it could have been. But if it had to end when it did, that it ended as it did is at least some comfort.

He went surrounded by his garden. A personal Eden he’d created and cultivated with his heart and hands. It was his little patch of paradise; he is in every blossom, every leaf, every blade of grass and green living thing growing in it. He went under the summer sky he loved so much.

Under the sun burning like Kerouac’s fabulous yellow roman candles exploding across the stars. He went in the water, and he loved the water. Rocked in its arms like the seamen and fishermen whose lives so inspired his life, we can imagine

that as he went, it may have been for him as the great TS Eliot who had, like Richard, swum and sailed through the summers of his boyhood in the waters of Gloucester— wrote in his poem ‘Death by Water’ that “he rose and fell ... passed the stages of age and youth, entering the whirlpool.”

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