I know it’s bad form to start a post you can’t finish or even present in a reasonable fashion but I want to get this down before it slips away. I guess I could be watching the inauguration but I’d rather be sleeping. Then again I can’t stop thinking about Sue and Phil P. Two dear friends who have both died within the past months. Phil died this past summer of a heart attack and Sue died this past week from cancer. I was married in their home. A beautiful little mansion up on Interlaken Drive overlooking Portage Bay. A house that was always filled with people, music, food and drink. I house of a certain Southern gothic drama because Sue had her roots in the south although they were lifelong Seattle denizens. Phil was a genius who worked the last part of his life from home on some supercomputer project, often never getting out of his pajamas. He designed the machine that cut the tiles for the Space Shuttle Explorer exterior. I never knew that until it was mentioned at his funeral. He was too humble to ever brag about his accomplishments. He was a bluegrass musician who played with some big names but he never really talked about it. He and Sue had two beautiful children. The lovely red haired daughter Katie who was a bit of a fiddle prodigy herself, now married with two beautiful babies of her own. And the handsome Philip who I had a crush on when I was 39 and he was only 19…. I made out with him in the dining room one night after many drinks. He’s a grown man now, successful and still gorgeous. I always said if Sue knew she would have killed me with her bare hands. Now she will never know because she is gone. I want to post a picture here but my computer is not cooperating so it will have to wait.
I dated Sue’s brother Jeff for a while. Jeff is a fairly well known artist and sculptor. I will never forget Sue’s response to the news that we had paired up: “I give it three months….” was her brutally honest take on it. I think we made it about 6 months. Jeff is still close in my heart. When I got married I was 4 months pregnant so couldn’t drink at the wedding but still I bought a very expensive bottle of champagne to have one little toast but then forgot about it in the rush of the day. Lamenting the lost toast later to Sue she said “don’t worry, we’ll drink it when you get divorced..” Again, speaking truth in her biting humorous way. Of course, the marriage didn’t last, but we drank the champagne before the divorce.
I moved away to go to library school 11 years ago. I lived in South Carolina and then North Carolina before returning to Seattle in December of 1999. I would call and make plans to see Sue and Phil but never made it to their new home which was all the way out in Lynnwood (jesus…. at least a 30 minute drive for christsakes, you know how that would inconvenience me…such a busy girl).. I never saw them again until Phil’s funeral last summer. Sue was so sedated and beside herself she didn’t even remember seeing me there, although I sat with her and hugged her. I talked with her several times after that. She had cancer for a long time but told me she planned to see her grandchildren grow up and she wasn’t giving up. Last week she died. She’s gone. The Poths were amazing, epic characters that I cannot do justice to sitting here in the early a.m. with a hangover and no ability to figure out what any of life means. Friends are precious. Acknowledge them before they go. Live life to have as few regrets as possible. That is all i know. And that isn’t much. Here’s a link to her obituary, written by her incredible children.