Tom Portante
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Tom Portante



Dear friends - I’m writing this as someone who’s well and fully alive - but also as someone who knows death can visit any of us unexpectedly.

Not one of is without flaws. We are, as has often been said, “all too disappointingly human.” Or, as fundamentalist Christians used to be fond of saying, “we are all broken,” in one way or another. I have had my flaws, I have had things I regretted doing - or not doing, there are people I never got to know well enough, there are many people I’ve loved.

It was, in other words, an existence barnacled with the good and the bad.

But, I’d argue, in all, in the measure of my being, I’d like people to remember me as good person, someone who tried to be a good father, someone who tried to be kind to people , even in the minor daily interactions with those never to be encountered again. I’d like to be remembered as someone with a good sense of humor, and while I’d lost it in my later years, someone with a twinkle in his eyes when confronting the silliness or ironies of life. And I’d like to be remembered as someone with a smidge of intelligence and an equal amount of creativity.

I suppose it’s peculiar asking to be remembered in one way or another - but then - it’s not like any of you, the living, are going to come find me and gripe about this bit of text. Or, at least, any time soon...


Rarely do we get a chance to plan much of anything for the time after we’ve gone, and while I can’t do much to change what you’ll inevitably think is best “for such occasions,” I would like like to ask a favor. A last favor.

The favor is .. taking a bit of time to appreciate something too often overlooked in our lives.

Take a friend, a lover, a spouse, a child, a relative, to a place of beauty, and in silence for several minutes, simply appreciate it for what it is. No technology need be involved to somehow capture the moment, just let it sink into the silence. And know that of all the things that I loved, it was sometimes the magical --transcendence-- of beautiful places and moments that touched my heart so much.

And IF you happen to be in the Bay Area, and if you happen to find yourself on a nice day in the East Bay, I can think of no more tranquil a spot than Cesar Chavez Park in Berkeley - (AKA “the marina”) the penninsula of land-fill at the bay-side tip of University Street. The Marina has, for years, been the place where I went to recharge my mental batteries. There’s a perimeter walk around the park (around the vaguely rectangular part that sticks out into the Bay) and I always, always, started at the end near the turnaround, followed northward to the NW tip of the spit of land (and enjoyed the distant view of The Golden Gate), and then looped around, clockwise, to the ‘lagoon’ side of Chavez, and back down and around to the starting point at the turnaround.

It's a simple pleasure. Enjoy it a little .... for me. And for yourself.


be well my friends, remember the important things in existence, savor friendships, and please try to think of me every once in a while.

- tom

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flash alcott
March 2nd, 2014
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