Many, many years ago there was an apartment in West Palm Beach inhabited by three squires. Duke, Turtle, and Pat. Duke moved out, and another squire, yours truly, moved in. Pat was a quiet(though his lady wasn't)roomie, quick to laugh, or even cry, and was a truly good guy. I'll never forget the day that I came home one afternoon to find him on the back porch drilling holes in his brand new metal shield. He was using my drill, and dripping in sweat. He informed me that the shield was tougher than he thought since he only had three of six holes drilled, and had already burned up two titanium bits. I observed him drilling, then reached down and quietly flipped a switch on the drill's handle. As understanding dawned on Pat he growled at me, "You mean this thing goes BACKWARDS!" As I ran for cover I tried to help him feel better for having drilled three holes with the drill in reverse. The rest of the holes took mere seconds, and we eventually had a good laugh. I tell that tale at least once a year in my Stagecraft class. I also remember the time he came out of his room in tears because he had broken a lamp that had belonged to a departed relative. He was a man of deep feelings and compassion.
Here is how we all looked back then. Pat is the one on the far left:
Actually, to be fair, this is probably a better representation of us:
I eventually moved out, and the waters of time grew wide twixt Pat and me. Then, in Jaunary of 2001 my then girlfriend now wife and I attended an SCA event in Tampa. I was wandering over to the fighting when a voice cried out 'Wihtgar!' and an armored man crushed me in a bear hug. It was Pat, not looking very much changed by the nearly two decades since last we met. We laughed and whooped, and he informed me that he was getting married at that event and elicited my promise to attend. It was a beautiful service, and a grand way to rekindle an old friendship.
Over the years since we have corresponded via email, and encountered each other at the odd event I would attend, but neither of us really went too far out of our way to get together. I guess we figured there was always time. As you must know from the title of this post there wasn't. Not anymore. Pat died quite unexpectedly on Tuesday. He was younger than me, though I'm not sure by how much, and if there is a Valhalla I hope I get to give him shit about that someday.
He would, I'm sure, appreciate the humor in that.
Goodbye, Lord Parlan. You may not have been perfect, but you were certainly one of the best among us. I only wish I had told you that when you could hear it.