Today is 8 years since my Grandfather, Chuck Jones, passed away.
It was 8 years and 3 days ago that I went down to say goodbye to him.
He wasn’t conscious, at least as far as I could tell as I sat by his bed at his home in Corona del Mar. But I believed that at some level he was aware of me by his side. It was just the two of us in the room and I sat quietly for a long time.
For some reason, I brought The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. After sitting there for a while, I opened the book and just started to read. The only part that I remember distinctly from the few pages that I read was:
“We got an old tin lantern, and a butcher-knife without any handle, and a bran-new Barlow knife worth two bits in any store, and a lot of tallow candles, and a tin candlestick, and a gourd, and a tin cup, and a ratty old bedquilt off the bed, and a reticule with needles and pins and beeswax and buttons and thread and all such truck in it, and a hatchet and some nails, and a fishline as thick as my little finger with some monstrous hooks on it, and a roll of buckskin, and a leather dog-collar, and a horseshoe, and some vials of medicine that didn’t have no label on them; and just as we was leaving I found a tolerable good curry-comb, and Jim he found a ratty old fiddle-bow, and a wooden leg. The straps was broke off of it, but, barring that, it was a good enough leg, though it was too long for me and not long enough for Jim, and we couldn’t find the other one, though we hunted all around.”
I laughed out loud when I got to the end of this paragraph (as I always do) at the discontinuity and yet logic of looking for a matching wooden leg.
Chuck breathed a little more sporadically and a little deeper for moments just then, I suppose due my outburst of laughter.
Each and every February 22nd I make a specific intention to laugh more, to live more deeply, and to be more grateful for things I have and have had in my life, including Chuck.
Today is no different as we’ve told some stories, had many laughs about absurdities of life, and thoroughly enjoyed the day; just as I know Chuck is doing as he discusses the poetic nature of the written word with Mark Twain.
I hope that each person that loved him and his work will laugh an extra laugh in Chuck’s honor today.