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Thread: For George Michael, with Love

  1. #1

    Default For George Michael, with Love

    On Saturday I'll drive to Hartford to join Alycia Evica and family to mark the anniversary of George Michael Evica's passage into the next world.

    Please indulge my use of co-founder's privilege. I wish to share the eulogy which I delivered on Saturday, November 17, 2007, at Saint John's Episocopal Church, in thanksgiving for the life of that good and great man.

    ***

    For George Michael, with Love

    by Charles R. Drago

    My friend and mentor, my confidante and confessor, my sponsor and comrade in arms, my spiritual guide and now my spirit guide George Michael is the ultimate … the perfect … square.

    Or, as the hipsters of his youth might have put it … a real L Seven.

    You see, the breadth of George Michael – his interests, expertise, scholarly and artistic achievements, compassion, gentility, strength, humor, his warrior’s courage and his infinite capacity for forgiveness – is precisely mirrored by his depth.

    And his depth alone.

    I can assure you that none of his colleagues in the fields of assassination research, deep political science, and radical history – even those elite few rightly celebrated for their own immense abilities and contributions to the fights for truth, justice, and forgiveness – can come close even to approximating George Michael’s perception.

    His depth of field, so to speak.

    No one can match George Michael’s ability to discover connections, to perceive parallels, to filter investigative subtext and scientific nuance through the prisms of religion, myth, legend, satire, drama, and poetry.

    And to cast that refracted light into the darkest corners, illuminating all that would skulk and lie hidden in the shadows.

    I make this comparison with confidence because, almost 20 years ago, George Michael took a stranger by the hand for reasons I still cannot fathom and, on the strength of his own standing in the JFK research community, introduced me to the best and the brightest among them.

    So I would know.

    This is neither the time nor the place to review George Michael’s c.v. The only fitting way I can eulogize him is to share with you what he means to me, what Alycia means to me, what the friendship of the Evica family means to me.

    In so doing, perhaps I can help all of us to understand more deeply what a miracle George Michael is.

    Now as you likely have noted, I refer to George Michael in the present tense. This is a direct consequence of his teaching. He confirmed me in the faith of acceptance of the immortality of the human spirit.

    He exists.

    Not solely as memory, or historical abstraction, or influence, or inspiration.

    But literally. As disembodied personality. As spirit.

    And beyond all cliché, I implore all of his loved ones and friends gathered here today to accept this reality: George Michael is with us, he sees us, he hears us, and he is joyous in response to our love.

    Which he returns in kind.

    What is he doing? Admit it; you’re as curious as I am. Last night I found myself drawn – or perhaps guided – to a poem by Theodore Roethke, one that for me at least provides a plausible answer. I’d like to share its beginning and conclusion.

    How can I dream except beyond this life?
    Can I outleap the sea –
    The edge of all the land, the final sea?

    Do we move toward God, or merely another
    condition?
    By the salt waves I hear a river’s undersong,
    In a place of mottled clouds, a thin mist, morning
    and evening.
    I rock between dark and dark,
    My soul nearly my own,
    My dead selves singing.
    And I embrace this calm –
    Such quiet under the small leaves!
    Near the stem, whiter at root,
    A luminous stillness.
    The shade speaks slowly:
    “Adore and draw near.
    Who knows this –
    Knows all.”

    George Michael, I know, is at peace. But not for long. And I’ll explain this in just a moment.

    But first, and ever so briefly, I want to give you an indication of the roles that good humor and unlimited love play in my friendship with George Michael and Alycia.

    I live with my Uncle Arthur, who, with my mother, raised me from a pup. As our family merged with the Evicas, George Michael and Alycia welcomed Uncle with immense grace and love. Over countless dinners here in Hartford and at my home in Providence, we laughed, ate, and drank – almost always to excess.

    Nothing exceeds like excess.

    There are so many stories, but time for just one.

    During one Providence extravaganza, George Michael and I assigned ourselves the task of assembling a small Smokey Joe barbecue.

    Think of this as a cautionary tale.

    I had dutifully assembled every imaginable tool for the job – including a bottle of Absolut vodka, glasses, ice, and mixers.

    We cracked the box, reviewed the instructions, criticized the language, and set about not just to build a barbecue, but to build a better barbecue.

    After about forty five minutes, what we were holding resembled a Prussian helmet with weather vanes.

    Now throughout this vaudeville act, Alycia and Uncle had observed us quietly and with bemusement that slowly metamorphosed into a mixture of pity and annoyance.

    Finally Uncle looked at the great MENSA intellect and his proud acolyte and said, “Why don’t you two go sit on the couch and … think about things?

    He then took three minutes to assemble the grill.

    The moral? Why, it’s all about having the courage to know that the most sacrosanct rules often cry out to be broken.

    George Michael, professor emeritus of English, benighted defender of the Mother Tongue, demonstrated during our quest that, contrary to canon law, an Absolut can indeed be modified.

    Usually with vermouth or tonic.

    We laughed a lot. Although truth be told, George Michael’s humor often leaned toward the esoteric.

    “Charles, I have great new joke. Knock knock!”

    “Who’s there?”

    “The Council of Ephesus.”

    Sigh.

    But I digress.

    So many stories, so little time. And we must be on our way. But it would be poetically unjust if I didn’t try to describe the love offered to me by George Michael and Alycia by recalling words written by Robert Kennedy about his father.

    "What it really all adds up to is love -- not love as it is described with such facility in popular magazines, but the kind of love that is affection and respect, order and encouragement, and support. Our awareness of this was an incalculable source of strength, and because real love is something unselfish and involves sacrifice and giving, we could not help but profit from it."

    I continue to profit beyond measure from my friendship with George Michael and Alycia. I am in their debt. And I think I know how to repay it, in part.

    I take you back now to a late November afternoon in Dallas. George Michael and I found ourselves in Dealey Plaza at dusk, suddenly far from the madding crowd. The light was filtered through leaves and discontent, the atmosphere was sorrowful. I asked him if, like me, he sensed the presence of unquiet spirits.

    As usual, George Michael was years ahead of me. He said that he had experienced the same feelings on many occasions. And then he spoke at length, his voice soft but redolent with strength, about his certainty that the fight against the forces that struck John Kennedy, the same forces that today prowl like insatiable beasts through the killing fields of the Middle East and elsewhere around this world, endure into the next world.

    George Michael knows that the calm he now embraces, the quiet under the small leaves that now soothes him, eventually must be left behind.

    The fight endures.

    The novelist James Lee Burke showed us that he understands this immutable truth when he wrote this ruminative passage for his contemporary fictional Cajun hero:

    “Down the canyon, smoke from meat fires drifted through the cedar and mesquite trees, and if I squinted my eyes in the sun’s setting, I could almost pretend that Spanish soldiers in silver chest armor and bladed helmets or a long-dead race of hunters were encamped on those hillsides. Or maybe even old compatriots in butternut brown wending their way in and out of history – gallant, Arthurian, their canister-ripped colors unfurled in the roiling smoke, the fatal light in their faces a reminder that the contest is never quite over, the field never quite ours.”

    My dear George Michael, until we embrace again on the same plane ...

    Have fun.

    Have courage.

    If you can, hug my mother the way you’ve hugged me.

    Salute the only president I’ll ever have.

    And if it’s right, and opportunity permits …

    Come and meet me in a dream.
    Last edited by Charles Drago; 11-07-2008 at 12:38 AM.

  2. #2

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    Take my love and wishes with you Charlie. In you he had a true friend.

    That's so rare.

    David

    a.k.a., a doddering, aged, vacantly drooling, grumpy, ball-scratching, grinning, baby-eating (yum!) old bastard.
    The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
    Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14

  3. #3

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    a/k/a A new, dear friend.

  4. #4

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    CD: That was beautiful. I daresay the most unique and porfound eulogy I have ever read. A mentor who becomes a treasured friend is the best gift we can have in this life. I wish you could have had his love and insight longer, but you have your own that you bring here, to us.
    With love,
    Dawn

  5. #5

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    I think George Michael is a regular contributor here in four ways:

    1. I'll continue to post selected examples of his work.

    2. He informs most all of what I contribute.

    3. He has a similar impact on other posters.

    4. He is present in spirit.

    Thanks, Dawn.

  6. Default

    Thank you so much for the reminder of your gorgeous and eloquent eulogy from last year, Charles. The Council of Ephesus knock-knock joke made me laugh out loud.

    In us, he lives.

    And thank you all for your kind words; I hope to contribute something of value to this forum.

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