Monday, December 2, 2019

A Most Interesting Man

We've never known anyone quite like him.  I don't know that we ever will, again.

Garage Bands and the history of rock and roll are not subjects that typically draw us out on a weekend afternoon.  His involvement in a project, though, drew us to Hotel Congress for a retrospective, replete with album covers and handbills and posters and newspaper criticism covering the walls.  A lot of the music was from the era when I was birthing and nursing, so it rang no emotional bells, but the effort and energy and creativity and enthusiasm brought us right along with the crowd.

It was his doing. 

As is often the case in Tucson, a weird conglomeration of old hippies and young hipsters, senior citizens looking for a free afternoon's entertainment, young families whose grown ups were friends of friends of the mastermind at the head of the event, music geeks, and random strangers filled the venue.  And, as is also often the case in Tucson, we learned some things, we enjoyed some others, and we reveled in his world.

It's unlike anyone else's.

Hockey's at the bottom of our sports-we-watch list... and it's a long list, as you denizens know.  It topped his list, and, as with everything he did, he put his money where his mouth is.  He worked to bring a professional hockey team to town, and he was the announcer at their games. He wrote of their prowess in the local paper.  He was a booster among boosters, til it all went awry.

More than hockey, though, was THE Ohio State University's football team.  He and TBG shared a deep-to-the-bone love of their Buckeyes.  It was only fitting that, on the day we learned of his passing, his team crushed Michigan by 30 points. 

His body revolted. He was hospitalized.  He was surgerized. He was loved and tended and all the professionals were proud of their work.  He woke up and didn't need the breathing tube and there was a hopeful vibe in the air and then he was gone.

There's an unfillable hole in the universe right now. 

No more goat or guinea pig or dachshund videos shared to his wife's page, just because he knew they made her giggle.  Their carefully divided household chores (she kept them fed; he kept them clean) can no longer fall into two even piles.  The menagerie of small, furry beasts won't have him at home, working on the computer, surrounded by Star Wars paraphernalia, dreaming up combinations of things that no body else saw or considered.

He was loved by many, and many loved him back, but TBG and I were lucky enough to revel in the love he had for his wife, Brenda Starr.  He promised her parents that she'd finish school and that he'd keep her well and carefully all the days of their lives, and he did until the end. 

His days were far too few.

Rest in Peace, Timothy Gassen.  You were one of a kind, a very special man, and our friend's love.  You will be missed.


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