Sunday, June 20, 2010

Remembrances from a friend and neighbor

This post by Thai's friend Bob Carden is in the spirit of the Monty Python post put up by Dink. Thai, wherever his spirit resides, was laughing the hardest. But it was so good for all of us to have those laughs during such a sad time. EMC--what a legacy! Someone said to me that Bob Carden is sometimes called the mayor of Edgemoor (our neighborhood), but Thai was its heart. Beautiful thought that stuck with me, but obviously there are so many wonderful hearts in our neighborhood (but don't worry, Bob, just one mayor!). Here it is.

As most of you know Thai’s intellectual curiosity, extended far beyond medicine. He loved politics, philosophy economics. Over the years he and I had a number of spirited debates. He was a bit of a righty, I go left. And our debates were increasingly animated, depending on how many “refreshments” we had that evening.

Several years ago, on a particularly “refreshing” evening, Thai and I were going at it. We discussed de’Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, argued the merits of Keynesian economics in propping up the economy, and finally, perhaps most critically, postulated on which country club members had the most surgical enhancements ….I think Tom Craver and Greg Doll joined the discussion about then, whenever the subject goes to that level you can usually count on Craver and Doll being close by

Anyway, at that moment Thai had an epiphany. He recognized that the collective shallowness of many of his Edgemoor friends demanded a forum where they could discuss these and other pressing questions. And as Greg told him, the woman have the PTA, bookclub, but what of the neglected, lonely Edgemoor man who spoke for us----I’ll tell you who: Thai Mcgreivy.

Within two days Thai had put together a large email database and selected a selection of bars where we’d meet. Thus EMC, the Edgemoor Men’s Club was born

Now cynics out there might say EMC was just an excuse for a bunch of slightly pathetic middle aged men to go to repair to the neighborhood tavern, have a couple of beers, watch sports, tell lies. And you know what, you’d be right.

But it was also more than that, because we had Thai running the show. It was not an ordained event until Thai showed up. Once he did it was like 6 degrees of Thai McGreivy. Thai wanted to make sure everyone was getting along, the circle was expanding.

His was never a simple introduction, Thai knew something about you, your kids, to provoke a conversation. I refer to Thai as the charismatic catalyst. Causing things to happen, having a blast doing it. His presence was large and central. And always met you with the comment, “All is well?” Not hello, or how are you but “All is well?” And he always had that open hand to greet you. When he shook that hand it was open, like him.

Katherine, I know the doctor thing worked out pretty well for Thai, and the rest of us, we’ve been going to him for years for advice. But I think the perfect job for Thai would have been maitre’d at a big restaurant. Can’t you see him doing that, greeting people, holding court. Perfect Thai gig….

Anyway our silly little EMC jaunts will go on, as will our Sunday barbecues at the club and, watching our kids and Thai’s kids swim this summer, at those country clubs. But it’s not the same. It can’t be. You just don’t get over losing someone like Thai—his presence was too large—his star shone too bright. But you do adjust to it—those first couple of days everyone in our neighborhood were walking around like zombies. I saw Carrie Hurd, Chris Gilson, red eyed, speechless. But that’s starting to change, we are adjusting and one reason is the remarkable woman Thai married. Katherine was over at the club Sunday night, composed, engaged, easy going as ever. We’re supposed to be strong for Katherine. It’s the other way around.

Finally, the outpouring here is directly proportionate to how much Thai was liked, loved and admired. Nick, kids you have to understand nobody in the community was looked up to like your father, nobody.

So Thai, all is well. And one more thing buddy. I have the last word. It was Congressional.

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