It isn't simply his death; it's a culmination of personal things crashing in on a week that always promised to be hectic as all get-out (Florida A&M trying to pull of a huge Homecoming week simultaneously as they try and pull off a huge week of Inauguration festivities surrounding the installation of their 10th President). Definitely a form of madness when your worker bee's are already maxed out but there were certainly extenuating circumstances making this weekend the best choice. But the death of Dean Barnett has genuinely stopped me cold. Funeral services are today at 1 p.m. in Massachusetts and The Weekly Standard has many reflections. Wretchard did a nice piece, so did Hugh Hewitt, and I'm sure many others have as well.
I had hoped to pitch an idea to Pajamas Media that would take me to Orange Park on Friday. This is my hometown, a suburb of Jacksonville, and the place that threw a parade for John McCain when he returned home after being a prisoner of war in Vietnam. The Orange Park High Class of 1978 has a 30-Year reunion this weekend (it's Homecoming at Orange Park High, too) and my younger brother was their Class President way back when. I may have mentioned before that I was Senior Class Prez in 1977 and my older brother held the same title in 1974. At a school that was the largest in North Florida and had to be 95% white at the time.
As a family, we love the town and the school. I thought it might be interesting to crash one of their informal get-togethers and see if anyone wanted to discuss McCain and Obama or (as I suspect) people are tired of the whole damn thing and ready for it to be over whatever the outcome. If so, it would still be worthwhile to catch up on old friends from long ago, watch an Orange Park High game for the first time in years, and visit with all kinds of OPHS Raiders as we beat the hell out of those boys from the Beach, Ponte Vedra High.
Of course, Florida-Georgia is also in-town this weekend and it would also have been interesting as hell to get over there on Saturday and talk football or politics (or both!) out around the stadium.
While in this stopped cold period, however, I've been thinking of my past and present while wondering about my future. There are color-coded parallels (stay in Tallahassee, or head over to Jax?) at play that I have to sort through. There may even be a temporary escape to South Florida. Tonight, however, a major production will be held on campus that wifey is responsible for. Until that is completed, the world stands still. I'm not ignoring my eMail or this blog but I am thinking about "First Things" in more ways than one.
God bless you, Dean Barnett.