Sad News

I have terrible news to share with the blogosphere today.

Horrible, no good, awful news.

Many of you knew him as Grayson Queen, author and artist extraordinaire.  Perhaps you’ve read one of his novels.  Perhaps you’ve purchased, or at least enjoyed, some of his paintings or sculptures…  Perhaps you knew that he was also Rara‘s husband, Dave.

I don’t have a lot of details, but I can confirm that Dave passed away earlier this week.

Please share this post wide and far.  Please say a prayer for Dave and Rara.  Please send her every ounce of spare energy you can muster.  She needs us.  Dave’s family and friends need us.

And send her mail to show her your love, your RawrLove:

Radhika Jaini WF0124
16756 Chino-Corona Road
Corona, CA  92880

You don’t need to know what to say.  You don’t need to say anything beyond you are thinking of her, and you love her.


You growled and hissed, and still you were loved.

You lashed and gnashed, and still you were loved.

You were a scaredy-cat at first, and then a meany-cat at the end, and still you were loved.

You had your humans, though.  The ones you let get close.  The ones you were sweet on.  You picked them long ago and were fiercely loyal to them and them alone.  They got to see you for who you were.

The years passed, and still you were loved.

You were tired and sick, and still you were loved.

It was love for you that made the final decision heartbreaking.  You will be missed.  It was love for you that made the final decision essential.  No more pain.

the bridge

The bridge spanned the river,
My river,
The mighty Kings.

We used to walk across the timber,
On a warm afternoon.

In the middle we would linger,
To hear the singer,
The cool swift water below.

The wooden planks made our steps ring,
Rhythm of a dream,
The perfect symphony of nature.

Dancing, skipping, laughing we’d resume,
Our journey, our quest,
Enchanted by the treats we’d find in the store.

The bridge was the key, you know,
If you needed to go,
To the magic place of drinks and ice cream.

But now my soul is tortured,
The horror,
My beloved bridge is only in my dreams.

They tore it down, every single beam,
Gone, no more,
To be replaced by something less easily fractured.


Where my family disappears into the mountains every year for a week, the campgrounds are on the opposite side of the river from the store.  Growing up we would take a trail that paralleled the twists and turns of the river, and then crossed it over an old style, wooden, bridge.  We would often stop and take pictures upstream and downstream, look for fish, marvel in the majesty of the canyon, the raging torrent, the tall trees, and the general magic of nature, all the while anticipating the sweet treats we would find in the store.  The boards would creak under our feet.  We could see where new ones had been nailed into place to replace those that had worn with age or been washed out by the high currents of spring when the snow melt would come crushing down the valley.  It was magic for a child.  It was perfect.

A couple years ago they started the process of dismantling the old bridge and replacing it with a more modern version…  Metal and cement.  When it is done, it will be an eyesore where it spans my beloved nature.  On either side will be nature, and something unnatural will link the two…  Mostly I’m just sad the Little Prince will never get to walk across the old bridge.

This bit of nostalgia and poetry was brought to you today by the Poetry Prompt from We Drink Because We’re Poets:

“This week I would like you to share with me a poem about a place – a place that was dear to you, but is no longer there. It can be a bar, a museum, a library, bookstore, your old school – anything. I invite you to tell me what changed, what got replaced and how did it make you feel. Form, length, rhyme, all is optional.”


And you, dear kingdomites?  Have you had something taken from you?

the box

We call them heirloom gifts…

For the past couple years I’ve been receiving hand-me-down gifts for birthdays and Christmases from my parents.  Sometimes these are gifts from my childhood – my baby book, drawings I did in school, my sticker collection, the hospital receipt from my birth, all the letters I wrote to Santa (I’m still not sure why he sent them back to my parents, but it’s better not to question whatever magic is at play there), etc…  Occasionally, the heirloom gifts from my parents are possessions from my grandparents that they are passing along little by little.  One such of those gifts was a box full of little odds and ends.

I started to sift through that box immediately after I opened it.  I loved my grandparents and miss them greatly, and was excited to see what treasures of theirs I was getting.  At the same time, I was sad that my wife, the queen, and our little prince will never get to meet them.  A full range of emotions was bubbling away under my calm demeanor.

I began to pull things out of the box, smiling as a memory here and a memory there were shaken loose from my mind and allowed to float to the surface.  All the while, a pain in my heart and soul grew stronger and stronger.  Each new item was more painful than the last to dig out of the box.

I pulled out a couple pairs of socks my grandma had knitted and smiled thinking of the hours she had probably spent on her davenport darning them.  I pulled out a couple of the lighters my grandpa had kept in the top drawer of his dresser and wondered if had ever used them or if he had collected them after he stopped smoking.  I pulled out a pair of fancy dress gloves that were my grandma’s.  I pulled out my grandpa’s wallet, opened it, and…  Well, that is as far as I was able to get that day.

The pictures he kept in his wallet, the memories tucked safely away for his keeping, were too much for me to handle.  I put everything back in the box, thanked my parents and moved on.  I tried to fight back the tears that wanted to well up and pour down my face.

I have no idea how successful I was.

The box has remained unsorted, unreviewed, safely stowed away since that day.  Eventually I will pull it out and go through it.  Eventually I will see what other treasures are waiting for me inside.  I know I will find things in there that will make me smile, and laugh, and cry.  Eventually I will be ready to face all of those emotions.