Some days you eat the bear. Some days the bear eats you.
Yesterday was one of those days when the bear won. After four years of battling colon cancer, an old friend of mine passed.
We went to college together. We worked in newspapers for many years. I left them. He did too. Everybody does. Printed newspapers are a dying breed. Worse, they’ve always eaten their young. To advance you have to move on and on. And, on. Eventually, you find a home. Either you move out, or you get moved out. In his later career he taught. I edited and published.
That’s only a small part of the story. All of our stories are individual. But, they are the same.
So is the final chapter. I suppose we all knew that his time was short. But, when it came, it seemed unexpected. It seemed sudden. Like bricks falling from a storm-blown building, they hit us in the head.
Our Facebook pages lit up with remembrances and expressions of sympathy. Your know that I’m not big on social media. Any of the platforms. I use them because I have to, not because I want to. I usually discuss my thoughts and emotions here. On Storyteller. Whatever drifts onto my social media pages is accidental, not intentional.
Anacleto or Michael, depending on what point of our lives intersected, was a helluva a photographer. In the past, he led Los Angeles Times photography teams on coverages of things like last night’s Emmy Awards. That’s probably not all that important.
This is what is important.
He was Yoda. Quiet. Positive. Gentle. A leader without trying to be. Even as the end drew near and his family came to see him, to say goodbye, he made the group portraits. He simply said, “‘Tis the season of reunions.” To a person, everyone who posted yesterday said that he made the world a better place. We hadn’t seen each other in a few years. You know. Life. Distance. But, there is giant hole right now. In the world.
Rest in Peace, Anacleto Rapping.