Tahoe Pine Nuts: Stubie was Mister Class Act | SierraSun.com

Tahoe Pine Nuts: Stubie was Mister Class Act

McAvoy Layne
Pine Nuts

We are remembered by how we lived and sometimes by how we died. Then every once in awhile along comes somebody who lays out a lesson plan on how to do both. Stu Jed was one of those guys.

Stu was handed a death sentence some nine years ago when diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Yet somehow, with grace, humor, faith and support of a loving family & legions of friends, he beat those odds year after year after year. Not unlike the auspicious cat, Stubie had nine lives.

Recently a few of us went over to commune with Stu, and he intimated that it might indeed be one of his last days on deck, and as he shared this weighty prospect with us, a little voice inside my head whispered, “Should you get the flu next week, or worse, Mister, you will be able to say, ‘I know how to handle this, because I know Stu!’”

The way I see it, we haul down our colors and shed this mortal coil with an idea of returning to Mother Earth full of determination to make this planet a healthier place. As Emerson reminds us, “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded.”

So I suspect Stu is already amongst us again, laying comfortably in a bassinet, attempting to examine his big toe, in a hospital that he will someday own.

When we bear witness to a brave person’s promotion to glory, a person who demonstrates great dignity in the process, well, it takes the stigma out of that day when our own personal promotion to glory comes calling.

We have busied ourselves for countless centuries envisioning various “in-between places” preordaining our return to this world. Hell has been our most consuming invention, condemning those who have sinned to punching chunks of brimstone down there where the temperature is three degrees hotter than Phoenix.

Heaven too has been paramount in our imagination, replete with every contentment from music of the lyrical harp to a noticeable absence of smart phones.

My uneducated guess is, there is very little in-between time. We go straight from “lights-out” to “lights-on,” from stretcher to swaddling. So I’m convinced Stu is already back among us, smarter even, and more benevolent than before.

Meanwhile, those of us lucky enough to have known Stu have collectively gained an appreciation for a life nobly lived, and an commensurate appreciation for a life regally concluded.

Once we finally wrap our arms around the notion that our present life is a small portion of a protracted life, well, there remains no reason to fear a jump from one lifecycle to another.

For Stu’s saintly wife, Ginnie, this will be a difficult Christmas to be sure; then too, she embodies the proverb, “God gave us burdens, also shoulders.”

We miss you, Stubie … our sterling, steadfast, peerless pal.

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at http://www.ghostoftwain.com.