No one could write a lovely, looping sentence quite the way our friend Joel could. This, for instance, was how he described one of his favorite Portland places:
"Lone Fir is the resting place of an astonishing variety of those who’ve come to be the city’s natives: along with pioneers and their descendants, there are Russians, Cambodians, Japanese, and Chinese whose families immigrated—some of them generations ago—and stayed." And though we're known for our rain, hippies and volcanoes, he said that they are merely "minor annoyances when compared to the city’s surpassing loveliness. Actually, the hippies are part of the charm, like colorful garden dwarves scattered amidst the tall firs."
The Famous Publisher.
We'd known him since his days as a designer, writer, art and food critic and self-described Famous Publisher of a literary rag called Mississippi Mud that predated zines and graphic novels but was a precursor to them all. He and his ladylove Cheryl also lived a couple of blocks away from us in Sellwood, where he showed Dave how to barbecue a whole turkey on the grill (for which Dave honors him every winter holiday by standing in the rain or snow and raising a pint over our bronzed prize), offered advice on how to repair an aging Victorian and was always available for two parents who couldn't find a sitter and desperately needed a night off.
Pre-unveiling quilt made by artist friends in Puerto Rico.
When he passed away in Puerto Rico from a sudden diagnosis of what-the-fuck-do-you-mean-I've-got-lung-cancer in 2007, his ashes were buried in that same Lone Fir cemetery where a coterie of Portland's literary glitterati bade him adieu. Not to be outdone in the monument category, his friend John Laursen, himself a writer, designer, editor, typographer and printing maven of crazy capabilities, took it upon himself to coordinate, with Cheryl's advice, the design and production of a fitting monument.
Día de los Muertos, it's a simple yet, shall we say, "avant garde" design that will give others in the neighborhood a run for their money. With type by John, art by Sharon Bronzan and a proprietary color job by Elite Granite and Marble in Hillsboro (they wouldn't even let John watch as they applied it), it provides those of us who loved Joel a marker to wave at as we drive by on our daily errands.
And, maybe once in awhile, even a place to share a piece of pie.
Read previous posts about Joel: What Goes Around, about his publication Rotund World; Famous Publisher Has His Cake wherein the FP visits and I share a fabulous recipe for Chocolate-Orange Carrot Cake; and the self-explanatory An Appreciation: Joel Weinstein, Famous Publisher.