Tuesday, November 17, 2009


It was hard to find a picture of my Uncle John. He left a pretty small footprint in life. 

Through the generosity of friends and family he was able to buy a little house. He repaired and refinished furniture, tended his large vegetable garden and had a few flowers to brighten up the edges of his life. Children and dogs were always attracted to Jayberg and his neighborhood was filled with both. When we stopped by for a coffee there were often a few hanging around. I think children liked Jay because he talked to them like they were small adults and he was completely non-judgmental. And dogs? Dogs just know.

I was thinking of him today because Georgia O'Keefe's name came up. O'Keefe and Jayberg? O'Keefe lived a really pared down life and so did Jay. I didn't know how pared down until he died. A few days after we buried his ashes, we went over to clean out the house. There was nothing in the basement except a laundry. No cobwebs. You could have eaten off the floor. In his bedroom closet and dresser there were enough clothes to get through one week, everything clean, pressed and neatly folded. The kitchen had enough food for a week, no left-overs. There was no extras in his life. He had everything he needed, no more. This man had it together.

 Like most people, I live my life in semi-controlled chaos. I wish I had a little more of Jayberg in me, though I do like kids and dogs. Well, kids anyway.



reverend dick said...

Hmmmmm. Perhaps you should pare down the bike clutter...just enough to get you through one week.

Justine Nicholas Valinotti said...

How many bikes does one need, exactly,to get through one week?

Now, shoes are another story!

Gunnar Berg said...

It's more a matter of tasks than days. Mark Stonich has sixteen that he actually rides for various conditions, plus miscellaneous project bikes. I had the good fortune of having Lorna there when he admitted the number. He has become my Gold Standard - though he cheats a little, he builds the frames himself. Seriously, I'm shortly going to make an real effort to get down to three bicycles.

Anonymous said...

This is good writing. Dex