This was supposed to be a race report about the Mike Schott Memorial Circuit Race, but I didn't go. I could have, but circumstances beyond my control influenced my decision.
Instead, I shall write about George.
I've known George since 1992. I've never known him to be especially nice, but he seemed to like me. In other words, He never was mean or insulting to me, and to the best of my knowledge never spoke ill of me to others. He was an intelligent man, given especially to correct english usage, and a fan of the more modern erudite authors such as Vidal and Buckley. I had many illuminating conversations over the years with George, though I could never get to point where I felt any sort of emotion toward him more than as an acquaintance.
George didn't have alot of friends. As he got older, he alienated more and more of them,including most of his own family. It turns out George was emotionally abusive to his family, and as a result all his children left home as soon as they had means. His wife was not quite so fortunate. She is of a generation and culture that teaches women to honor and obey their husbands. Fortunately that was not a quality they instilled in their children. I witnessed cruelty to his wife once, and his son immediately took him to task, shouting him into another room while others consoled his wife. His abuse was never physical, but emotional abuse leaves scars that run just as deep.
My wife called me last Friday afternoon to tell me that George had died. George was her father.
His passing was not sudden, so everyone had time to come to terms with the finality. My wife had an abbreviated period of grief, which had passed by the time I met her after she called me. She made the comment; 'he stopped being my father 20 years ago'. Her mother, Georges wife, made the decision that there would be no official wake or funeral. George had burned pretty much any sense of good will over the years,to the point that some of his close relatives, upon hearing that there would be no memorial service, passed on anything more than a phone call. I understand one of his cousins laughed when she heard the news.
The true sadness here is the true goodness and warmth of Georges wife. She is a sweet and kind woman, forgiving and supportive, and always ready with a hug. She loves large family gatherings and thinks nothing of taking day trips to visit relatives - provided George allowed her and she was home before dark. She didn't deserve the treatment she got from George. Many people - especially his children - repeatedly criticised him for his treatment of his wife. As of this sunday - two days after his passing - His wife was dispersing some of Georges personal items and rearranging the furniture. With the help of my wife, she has already planned a trip to florida to see her brother who moved there 25 years ago. She has only seen him when he visits back north, as she was never allowed to travel to see him in florida.
The last time I actually spoke to George was earlier this week. My wife and I were visiting to help her mother, as George had become more and more difficult for her to deal with. He kept trying to get out his bed, but apparently was no longer cognizant of the fact that he couldn't walk. His wife and I put the sides up in his hospital bed, keeping him in place as he was only strong enough to roll from side to side. He called me a bastard.