Probably my oldest friend that I am still in regular contact with is J, famous to some as the bumbling bartender on ROX. I’m on a first-name basis with his family, though I haven’t seen much of them lately. I almost feel like they are a second set of distant relatives.
So it was particularly upsetting to learn that J’s dad Nick had contracted cancer. I’m not sure what type of cancer. Not the kind that gets better.
In the ninety-odd episodes of ROX that J and I have produced together, we have ranged over every subject that’s caught our interest. Whatever’s going on in our lives has become fodder for the show.
Even though we’ve touched on death in the abstract, we haven’t dealt with the passing of loved ones close to us.
Then Helen was killed, back in January of 2007, and I knew our next episode would have to account for her passing in some way. Frankly I was overwhelmed by that. Frozen. I couldn’t get started on that episode.
Then Nick came down with cancer, but also J & Day had a baby boy. And of course we had a baby too. And I came to see that our next episode would be about not just death but also life. Arrivals and departures.
Progress has been slow. We shot some video but the production been dogged with technical problems.
Meanwhile, J and Day and their infant son are traveling in China, a once-in-a-lifetime journey to cover a cultural exchange trip made by the Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre. The timing has been difficult to say the least. Nick took the inevitable turn for the worse and passed away just two days ago, I believe.
I tried leaving comments at J’s blog, but it won’t let me. Somehow that seems appropriate. The technical problems with our video production, the glitchy internet connection via which J saw his father for the last time, my inability to comment on J’s blog, the cancer itself — it all seems of a piece to me.
I know Nick will be missed. What a fine, sweet man. I wish I’d known him better
You can see some frame grabs from his earlier appearances on ROX, or check out the video for ROX #65, “Flow.” Nick appears in a silly wig about three-quarters of the way through. (Of course there are technical problems. Video downloads are broken but the pop-up should work.) Rest in peace, Nick. And to J and Alan and Pat and everyone, my deepest sympathies.
Thanks so much, Bart. I don’t know why you were having commenting trouble at the blog, but it’s heartening to see this tribute to dad here. We just had the memorial service today here in Austin, Tx., and I was amazed how many people showed up. This in a town where dad has only lived for about four years. He had an amazing ability to make deep connections with a lot of people. It’s been a hard couple of weeks, and an amazing couple of weeks as well. I’m still processing. Thanks for the words of support.