Enjoy Every Sandwich
An old friend of Terry's sent me this photo, with the message: 'A picture of your beautiful man having his breakfast on the Rio Grande, in 1994.'
That's Terry, off to the right, in the white hat. There's Texas Dave McGarry, an Aussie promoter with Sligo roots and a love of good music, in the mirror shades and the grin. The picture was taken during a river trip, which saw Terry, Butch Hancock and Jesse Taylor travel through Santa Elena Canyon, trading songs and stories with a small group of friends. They had a whole lot of fun.
Terry was in his fifties when we met. There had been many trips, he had made some good friends, cut some great music and picked up the best stories. There had been marriages and girlfriends.
You might have spotted that I'm an obsessive character. Terry was too. We were certainly obsessive about each-other. I suppose we both wanted a big all-consuming romance and that's what we got. I recommend it.
I had some jealousy, too, when it came to Terry. I'm not a bunny-boiler, it wasn't a problem, but it was there. Terry didn't play on it. though he probably liked it, a little.
But he was very good at letting me know where I stood in the hierarchy of his affections and in the story of his life. And these past few months I have been spending a lot of my time - much of it virtual - in the company of people who valued him over the years, and who he valued. I think I have been looking for proof that he got enough out of his life.
I know Terry was happy. But I can't tell you how often I have wondered about the full span of his life and how it adds up - how all of our lives will add up. Did he laugh enough? did he have enough happy times, in his 72 years, to counteract the losses? did he have enough good people around him? Did he get what he wanted? I think about it a lot.
His oldest friend texts me stories of their childhood and teenage adventures and I collect them like lucky charms - as Terry did. And each interview I listen to that has Terry laughing or enjoying banter with someone he appreciates, and every photo that shows him looking happy, is a gift. I'm noticing, too, the photos I took of him. The way he looked at the camera when I was behind it. Had I forgotten that? Now, those pictures are gold.
I'm grateful for every enjoyable moment Terry had on this Earth, wherever he was, whatever he was doing and whoever he was with. I'm happy for every time he laughed at something daft, every time he got stupid-drunk, every smoke he enjoyed, every childhood scrape he got into, every time he sang into a mic with someone he admired, every one-night-stand, and every love affair. Even the important ones. Ain't love a funny thing?
San Pedro de Moel, Portugal, 2008