I am lucky enough, however, to have two brothers by choice: Charles Rutledge and Jim Moore. These are people who have become such close friends over the years that I have come to love both of them as brothers. These are men with whom I've shared both the joys and the hardships that life has dealt me; they have celebrated my best moments, and they have helped me to endure my worst. I love the both of them as much as I could love any brother by birth.
Charles and Jim have been so close by for so long that I pretty much took it for granted that they would always be a part of my daily existence. Sometimes you don't really know how good things were until they change. I didn't fully appreciate their daily presence in my life until I first realized that was about to change.
Jim has often talked of moving to New England, but the fates and the complexities of life conspired to keep him here for so long that I had thought (or hoped) that he was a Georgian for life. However, in recent months a variety of events intersected at just the right moment, leading Jim to decide this was the time to give New England a try.
As of tomorrow morning, Jim hits the road for Boston, all his belongings in a U-Haul truck; he's joined by his good friend Chris Golden, who flew down here for World Horror Con and is riding back with Jim. Chris is a great guy, and I'm glad that he's working with Jim to make this dream of a New England life become a reality. But at the same time, part of me wishes it wasn't happening.
Jim has been a cherished part of our Wednesday night dinners for so long that it'll be tough to see anyone else sitting in his chair; I'll have the resist the urge to tell them to move over so that Jim will have a place at the table with us. But for a while, at least (and we're hoping it's only for a while), Jim will be with us in spirit only. The lively conversations, the occasional venting, the ruminations, prognostications, and cogitations... they'll have to take place via email or phone. But that chair just to Charles' left will always be Jim's chair; we're just letting other people keep it warm for him.
Thornton Wilder said it pretty well in Our Town:
“EMILY: "Does anyone ever realize life while they live it...every, every minute?"
STAGE MANAGER: "No. Saints and poets maybe...they do some.”
Not one of us every fully realizes the wondrous joy of all those moments while we live them, alas; it's only when they end (hopefully temporarily... but I more than many know the unpredictability of our lives) that we can fully gauge what they meant to us.
Jim, you meant a lot. Still do. And while you're in Boston, remember—there's a place at the table for you every Wednesday.