A few words about a few words
This thing up above is one of two dedications in my new book, Quantum Physics and the Art of Departure. (The other is to my wife, Angela.)
I never had the pleasure of meeting David Brockett or Bill Petter, but both men left a powerful influence on me.
David’s daughter, Amy Pizarro, and I were co-workers at the San Jose Mercury News and are great friends. She’s the kind of friend — and I’m lucky enough to have several of these — who is right there at the moment you most need an encouraging word or someone to listen to your troubles. Because of the vagaries of day to day life and distance, I can go weeks and months without talking to her, only to find that everything falls away when I do. She is, simply put, a wonderful person.
Her dad ended up with a copy of 600 Hours of Edward and just loved it, so much that he and I struck up a correspondence by e-mail. David was a long-haul trucker, and we had an appointment to get together the next time his work brought him through Billings.
Sadly, it never happened. He got sick and died so quickly, it took my breath away. Took everybody’s breath away.
Amy details that on her blog, and I can’t suggest strongly enough that you go check it out. It’s a beautiful tribute to a man and a father.
Bill Petter is another guy I’m left to wish I’d had the pleasure of meeting. His daughter, Donna Moreland, is another of my friends, one of the many I’ve picked up on Facebook.
When Bill died on March 21, the outpouring of tenderness and stories from Kirkland, Wash., where he lived, was just incredible. Here’s but a sample. Donna told me that 600 Hours of Edward was one of the last books he read and that Edward’s fascination with numbers and process was something he shared with Bill. There’s just no way to say with any degree of adequacy how much sentiments like that mean to me.
We lost greatness with the passing of these two men. Luckily for us, they left legacies — in the daughters they raised and the lives they touched. I think you ought to know.
Update: Amy just e-mailed me with something pretty interesting: Bill Petter died one day before her dad, and the two men’s birthdays were one day apart. Wow!