an end.Posted: July 21, 2012
There’s a funeral happening today, right now, in fact, down in scottsville and I am on a train headed to dc. I hate to miss a funeral. And while this one if for a man who I really didn’t know well, his passing looms large in my heart, marking the end of an era.
Sidney Tapscott died last week. I can’t claim that he was my friend, but he was a constant presence in my adult life and his absence is marked. Time was, there were fewer people on the downtown mall, and it felt like we all knew each other. I was very young, and more on the fringes of that scene than I probably thought at the time, but it felt like we were the whole world. There was art of all kinds happening and there was always somebody to talk or sit near. Some huge percentage of buildings were empty, but there was no feeling of emptiness. There was just a sense of possibility, which is, I suppose, what youth is.
And there was Sidney, far from young, with his push broom balanced awkwardly in an old grocery cart, sweeping the bricks in front of Miller’s or hitting up somebody at Bizou for ice cream. He’d ask every girl he recognized for a hug and got away with it. He wore sweatbands on his wrists and on his head, and if it was hot, he wouldn’t wear a shirt under his overalls. He kept at least one watch buckled over those sweat bands. His hair stood up crazy all over the place and I often couldn’t understand what he said to me. He was remarkable in that he was an old man in the midst of a group of bright and creative and young people and we saw him and cared about him He was not invisible.
Sidney, may your service today be full of the people you loved. May your wake at Blue Moon be full of music and stories. I am glad beyond words that you had a friend to hold your hand as you died. May we all remember you. Rest in peace.