It's been a funny old day.I've felt discombobulated, out of sorts, dislocated.
This odd feeling has come about, of course, because I should have been elsewhere. I should have been at my darling brother-in-law's funeral - but as I couldn't get away for the trip to Hawke's Bay, I didn't make it.
John Palmer was an excellent person. There was nothing about him that immediately shouted out "inside this skin there beats the heart of a truly decent human being", but a moment or two of conversation with him, and you'd know that he was someone just that little bit out-of-the-ordinary. He cared very deeply for my sister, which is always a good start. He adored his grand-children, and loved his step-grandchildren. Another sign of excellence. He was very good to my parents, and stood up to my Mother, which shows he was True of Heart, and possibly a Rash Fool - certainly a man of character and backbone.
He was, apparently, capable of anger, but I never saw that for myself, so I choose to ignore the rumours.
It is true that you can learn something of value from everyone you meet, and this is certainly true of my experience with Big John. Patience, calmness, and understanding that the world is going to happen regardless of what you might want.
I've only known John for 15 years or so. Too short a time. I would have liked the chance to sit down and enjoy a couple of coldies with him again, but the Bastard Cancer screwed those plans. It's a particularly evil way to die, and it held our John down and tortured him beyond belief. From all reports, he faced it all with quiet dignity and courage.
Big John Palmer: you were a bloody marvellous human being, and I, for one, will miss you more than I can explain.
READING: John Birmingham, "Without Warning". For the second time.
LISTENING TO: Harry Nillson, "Everybody's Talking".
No Paper Heroes today. It just wouldn't be right.