Okay. I prefer this picture not be spread all over the Internet – for obvious reasons.
In this photo, I’m looking inside the cockpit of the aerobatics airplane, while Patrick, unbeknownst to me, is being a “bad boy” and acting like he’s posing with my butt cheek. Lovely. Of course, it was one of those situations that, if I had turned and caught him, I would have scowled at him – what are you doing? To which he would have adopted his most innocent, lost-little-boy look – Who, meeee??
In my book “Worth Fighting For”, I mention that Patrick always liked to call himself the “King of Irreverence,” noting that “nothing was sacred, or off-limits”. And he did his best to live up to his title; pulling pranks, and telling off-color jokes that I would roll my eyes over. And as much as I complained that some of his jokes shouldn’t be told in mixed company, he’d just grin. He was unstoppable.
He always wanted to shake things up, kick people off their little perches, and not be so serious (and he’d go to great lengths to do it)! I was one of those serious people – so full of thought, very earnest about everything, and always protecting what I felt was important. And from this stance, I’d peer out from underneath my hood of intense contemplation to see Patrick running circles around me, “Come play! Come play!” he’d be saying.
We use to have a dog named Derek, and Patrick described Derek’s social interaction with other dogs perfectly – “You’re either going to play with me, or you’re going to fight me. You pick. But it’s going to be one, or the other.” Patrick was a lot like Derek.
This irrepressible spirit also shone in my beloved aerobatics instructor, Randy Gagne’, who died in 1997. I never saw him pick a fight though (maybe because he was Canadian and not Irish). Randy’s mentioned in my book also, and he was always tirelessly thinking up ways to make life entertaining, whether it was play, or work. His wife, Sheree, laughed with tears in her eyes when she told me the story of when they were at a party, and he and a friend went around and had their picture taken with every woman in the room – that had the big breasts. Now, this wasn’t exactly politically correct, but it sure made it a fun party for them! Sheree herself was a very serious person, and after Randy, the love of her life, died, she told me, “He was always trying to get me to lighten up! And I just didn’t get it then. Not until much later. But he tried… He tried…”
I sure got a big dose of that lesson when my husband was ill. So many things that I thought were really important – weren’t. What are we here for anyway?
It’s March, and March means St. Patrick’s Day. And isn’t it funny – that the celebration for St. Patrick, who was a seriously ordained bishop and is the Patron Saint of Ireland – is to party, pinch people, wear silly hats, and drink green beer?
It’s like, the whole day is devoted to lightning up!
And though Patrick shares the same name as St. Patrick, he’d be the first to admit that he was no saint. But… maybe in his teasing, his mischievousness, his pranks, and daredevil humor, he brought the angels down to play here on earth. And those angels – well, they would have been completely at home with one of their own as they spread a little of that light around.