This has been a week about loss.

Went to Phillies game last Wednesday night with friends and it had the feeling of a hangover, of waking up to find the girl you found so fascinating the night before isn’t how you remembered, that the window has shut on the Good Times. Less than 20,000 unenthusiastic fans. The ballpark felt like a flat tire. The team, about the same. Spent.

Also, Chuck Stone died, in an assisted care facility in North Carolina. Chuck was my first mentor, the professor I respected (heck, it was closer to awe) who convinced me that I could write and that I could master the art of asking questions (though being married to the best interviewer I know often makes me feel pretty junior varsity when it comes to asking questions‚ and I’m a guy who actually ASKS QUESTIONS.). Chuck had this look—like the Grinch’s upbeat brother. He always wore a bow tie, a Brooks Brother suit, and a perpetual gleam in his eye. When I was editor of the student paper at the University of Delaware, I had a weekly Friday lunch with Chuck. He told me how to make stories better, he told me stories about his time in the company of Martin Luther King, his time as chief of staff to Rep. Adam Clayton Powell of New York (oh my!), and asked me about my life. What a gift.

Chuck, at a news conference in 1981 after he negotiated the end to a prison riot at Graterford Penitentiary, outside Philadelphia.
Chuck, at a news conference in 1981 after he negotiated the end to a prison riot at Graterford Penitentiary, outside Philadelphia. Who else looks this dapper in a hostage negotiation?

Chuck loved smart and irreverent. And I loved Chuck. His wit and wisdom resides with me still, though I haven’t seen him in decades, and realizing I won’t ever see him again is weighing on me this week.

Thankfully, those memories—and those from 2008-10—all reside in me. I can access them. And I can be awake to the possibility of new good times, new wisdom, new revelation. Maybe it’s not about loss after all.

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