Tuesday, September 20, 2016

George Graham RIP

My brother in law and dear friend, George Graham, died early today after a struggle with esophageal cancer. He was not quite 54, and I can't get my head around it yet. Until a month or so ago he and Karen were pretty optimistic, and I always thought he would outlive me.

We were utterly different people who shared a surprising number of interests: our deep love for Karen; a fascination for New England nature, especially in its maritime aspects, and all its inhabitants; great enjoyment in telling stories and drinking until all hours of the night; local lore and language; eating an enormous amount of delicacies unknown to westerners, like bluefish and fried clams with bellies-- who is going to find me the good clam shacks now?

Though he didn't know it, he had already inspired me to write about the returning alewife run he showed me last year. I always hoped he'd come out here again -- he enjoyed shooting Winchester level action rifles, and patronizing the Golden Spur Bar, where the locals loved to make him talk to hear his accent: "Say your name, George". He taught me that for all my airs I am "OFD" "Officially F****n"' Dawchesta", born on Templeton Street just off "Dot (Dorchester) Ave", on a site now obliterated by New Ashmont station. I left at four, but my private schools from five up and my pronunciation of the letter "r" notwithstanding, he made me say the one "r"- less thing he knew I would:

"What parish were you born in- don't think about it, just SAY it!"

(ME) "Saint Maahk's!".Learned before four and never forgotten.

George: "SEE? Only people from New Orleans and Dawchesta know the answer to that question! You're from Saint Maahk's off Dot Ave-- your as OFD as Maahk Wahlberg!"

I'll have a lot more to say later. For now it is enough to say: he was a wonderful man, a great father, and the best husband my sister Karen could have had. We will all miss him.

Thank you, George, for being the friend that you were to a talkative cranky old man in the desert. We love you, and will miss you.
Alewife run

With Tom Russell and co at Passim in Harvard Square

It seems like just a week ago- celebrating my new book, which they got before I did (and notice they have the Gorbatov cover image on their wall)


Anonymous said...

I can feel your sadness.
So glad that George was positive to the end, and had a wonderful life, which is what we all hope for.
Love and thoughts to all your family.
Remember the good times you all obviously had


John & June


Cat Urbigkit said...

Oh Steve, we are so sorry to learn this terrible news. Our prayers and love to your family. – Jim & Cat

Peculiar said...

Memory eternal! And much love to Karen.

Phil Yearout said...

So sorry to hear this. RIP George.

Anonymous said...

Very, very sorry for your loss, Steve. Godspeed, George.

Federico said...

Expected or not death and loss always cut deep, and painfully -- the price we pay for love, and it is a price worth paying. My condolences to you and your family all.

Lucas Machias said...

Sorry to hear this!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately his birthday is Sunday and he would've been 54 - it just sux all around but I will take my boys to England to head over to Lavenham soon and also finally meet Johhny UK. Thank you my brother we certainly will miss him...my heart is broken into pieces...
Karen, Alec, Evan and Hal and now Nelson

Gil said...

Steve, I am so sorry to hear of your family's loss. To Karen, especially, it is immeasurable. Y'all are in my heart, thoughts and prayers....

Tom Hardy said...

Very sorry. Great loss.

Margory said...

Thoughts with you and family.
To be remembered - and stories told -it's great tribute.

Tim Murphy said...

Steve, I commiserate with you and your family. Way too young. Tim

Mark Farrell-Churchill said...

Condolences from Jess and me.