June 24, 2009

O Best Beloveds, never mind me, I’m fine, I’m going to be fine, so could you, and I think there are a lot of you, please turn your thoughts for awhile towards my dearest Dave? Let me tell you about Dave, if it’s possible to explain a whole life so briefly. He’s part of my New Orleans-lovin’ tribe the Fat Pack; his wife is the Divine Miss Nettie, who, along with Perfect Diana, own the New Orleans house with us. He and Nettie have been together for decades, getting together when Dave was very very young and Nettie was a single mom. Not many young men would take on a ready made family, but Dave just did, never making the mistake of trying to be the kids’ new daddy, but being there for them in all ways their whole lives. Dave and Nettie have been community minded people, grass roots organizers; if you went to a No Nukes concert in So. Cal in the 70’s and bought a t shirt, chances are you bought it from them. Dave is a librarian down at UC Irvine. He is the most passionate person I know about live performance; from a very young age, he determined he would see as much art as he could, theater, concerts, all of it, and he has not only seen an extraordinary amount, but he remembers it all. And he can write about it in ways that make it leap off the page, or, perhaps more accurately, brings you right to the experience by his side, sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm and just plain sense of fun. And also, when he writes to me about love, as he sometimes does, it’s realer than the most real thing ever.

Some years ago, Dave had a tumor removed from near his spine. Some months ago, the tumor returned and it proved to be a super rare form of cancer, which had metastasized, just a little but enough, in his lungs. He has endured several shockingly grotesque surgeries to remove the tumor, including having ribs and part of his spine removed, and a steel cage built to support his spine, and more. He’s been going through radiation, and then, they’ve been assured, there are treatments that won’t be so bad, that should fulfill his wish of attending more Jazz Fests.

But right now, Dave has pneumonia and has been in intensive care, on a respirator, for three days. So please, please, Beloveds, could you send a collective wave of love and “Go Dave!” his way?

Once, when I was recovering from my lumpectomy, Dave and Nettie made their way up from Westminster to our house in Altadena, with TRAYS of Nettie’s homemade ziti. Nettie’s homemade ziti is love in pasta form. I don’t know why this sticks in my head so, but it’s something to do with receiving goodness and sending goodness and love back, love wrapped up in swift healing.

One of my favorite memories is seeing The Blue Man Group with the Pack, and at the end, when the audience is pulling that ton of paper over its head, I looked over at Dave and Robin, and both smiled at me with open mouths of total, massive, pure, perfect joy.

Dave’s smile needs to be in the world more.

Thank you,