GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Opinion

September 12, 2013

My View: Nancy's farewell to Richard Gaines

As I get ready to lock the door behind me and drive down the gravel lane away from Quarry Street, I carry a profound gratitude for the 14 years Richard and I had here, and the people who helped him make these the best years of his life.

Richard lived his hopes and dreams and, yes, battles (he loved them, too) right here. Gloucester was where he found his earliest pleasures, a child at his family summer home on the corner of Atlantic and Moorland in the post-war 1940s.

He frolicked in the ocean, fished from the rocks, hustled hot dogs at Bob’s Clam Shack. He came back in the ‘80s with his babies, the fourth generation of Gaineses’ here, who waddled in the Good Harbor tidal pools and Pebble Beach. He would bring his granddaughter, Anna, here in 2011 to make the fifth.

We had our first “date” on Bass Rocks. His children scattered his ashes there.

The city was where he found the sublime conformation of nature, nurture, cause, work, love, lust and peace that he sought. While he was well-known for his professional exploits, few in town knew the personal Richard — the Paul Bunyan with an ax, Peter Pan with a weed whacker.

He was Davy Crockett with his critters, Henry David Thoreau with his birds, bees and frogs. He talked to them all. He spent hours, days, tending his flower beds. He donned dungaree armor to battle the brambles and save a copse of birches. When we first moved in, he suited up like Space Cowboy to strip each post and beam to its essence. His spirit embued every blessed splinter, every sainted blade of this property, his frontier.

Thank you to the police and rescue squad who rushed here June 9, in response to my hysterical call, coming home from Boston to find Richard dead. Special thanks to Sgt. Sandy MacDonald, who heard the dispatch and raced here because he knew Richard. He had pulled Richard and Times photographer Allegra Boverman from a sand bog a few weeks before. Sandy lent a strong arm to cry and scream on that dreadful day.

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