Monday, May 19, 2008

Celebratory clam-less bake

When my good friend James passed away last October, his remarkable ability to make deep connections with people was demonstrated by the extraordinary number who felt his loss. Many of us had been brought together over the years by our friendships with James. His high school buddies had been fixtures on our scene since college. After the funeral we spoke about getting together to celebrate his life in the spring, around his birthday, when the loss was less raw.

It is a testament to his enduring spirit that this celebration did in fact come together. His high school friends organized a clambake yesterday on a lovely little beach in New London, CT. In attendance were about 40 people, including James' friends from high school, college and New York, and our families.

Though the weather was a little spotty, though the lobsters were somewhat underdone, and though the clams never showed themselves, we had a lovely day. There were probably 10 kids under three years old, and it was the Bug's first time in the beach. She had a fantastic time playing with the other kids and experiencing the sand and the wind, and Joker and I caught up with people we don't get to visit with very often.

When we were leaving, I couldn't help but wonder if we'll ever see some of these people again. I've known them tangentially, some for as many as 15 years, but our connection was always James. He's the one who brought people together. I'd like to think that we'll gather again for his birthday next year, and perhaps this will become a nice tradition. Either way, the positive impact James had on us all will not be forgotten.

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