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  • Writer's pictureGerald Tindal

Day 34: BRT family

KT Man,

We had another celebration last night. It was as auspicious as the last one. More for the closeness of people present than the reach of the vast group who came to SEHS’s football field last Sunday. A bit strange that the two were only one week apart and so different in meaning. The tailgate was so full of people who were/are part of your life and ours; yesterday’s was about people who are/will be part of our life. They will mix together to feather our focus from the past to the future.

As usual, you bring the sun with you. With clouds rolling in and out all day and a brief spell of rain, the day gave way to sun and a sunset over the fields of a horse ranch. The very ranch where you painted wooden fences but only on the outside so you didn’t get eaten by the horses inside. Your decision. We wanted to ensure you went on to school or would otherwise be consigned to endless buckets of white paint. Miles of fence. The main barn. A hayfield strewn with bales. Horses everywhere.

The BRT family was out in full force. And what a force it was and will be. Family and families. It seemed kids were everywhere, always on the move to disrupt the quiet sunset in the background. Good on them. Otherwise, the celebration would have become far too serious. Horse rides. Burgers by Farkels. Food by all. Your favorite IPAs. Quiet conversations of life one step removed. Tomorrow.

The real celebration was not only in being with everyone but in the gathering at the end of the evening: The tree planting. Five trees. A pear tree in the middle surrounded by two peach trees and two nectarine trees. Julie was so wise to remember I only like prime numbers. They have such a great defense from other numbers and can be conquered only by themselves and one. The clay soil too hard to dig for success of the trees so new soil lay in a berm next to the tree plot. Wheel barrow by wheel barrow, the soil placed around the shallow dig where each tree was placed. Then the real action: Kids spreading the soil around each tree. What a delight to see kids and fresh soil. Pushing. Digging. Spreading. Stamping. One last stamp to ensure the soil stayed in place.

Julie made a wonderful commemoration to you. The importance of family. Not just the DNA type but the real thing. People in our everyday lives who influence us. Move us. Become part of who we are. The family you were and are part of. The family that will carry you with us through these dark moments. Then something quite remarkable happened. Your mom spoke and thanked everyone for being our family. This beautiful, classy lady, 50+ years my soulmate, with full gray hair. Someone who professes to be unable to speak in public though she can easily command 25 five-year old children into a uniform fold. Sev was at her side. As always, supportive. Present. It was a beautiful moment.

This celebration ended so unlike the previous celebration, where the good byes were thank you for being part of KT’s life and making him who he was. Stay in touch. Travel well in life. I’m sure we’ll cross paths again. This celebration ended with see you tomorrow. KT lives on in the daily rhythm of the shop. The work you did upstairs: from the drudge of image naming to the creative video work. It was so inspiring to see you move through our common BRT family.

Today, I begin work and am uncertain. I know only that you will be with us and so I write every morning to ensure that. To see life through you. To one day quiet the anguish. We love you and won’t let go.

JT Man

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