Tribute to Jack

Tribute to Jack, a man I never met.   Died March, 2010 I never met Jack, talked with him, or touched him. I only heard stories about this man from my friend—his best friend. During the month before he died, I received daily reports on Jack’s progress. I listened to my friend talk about him and their adventures as teenagers, young men, and then as adults. I heard tales about voyages on a sail boat; going ashore to drink tequila and then rowing their dinghy back to the wrong boat. I learned about parties in New York, and the women he loved. I listened to dental stories, accepted a gift—a box of toothpaste given to me by his best friend, and became obsessed with taking better care of my teeth, as if Jack would be disappointed if I didn’t. My ongoing questioning about this stranger, who held the undefeated title for the most generous, kind, and humorous man from the state of Michigan, and surely from the state of Arizona, gave me the perception that I did, indeed, know and respect a man named Jack and that I loved him for his undeniable goodness to others. My only regret was that I never met him face-to-face, gave him a hug, shared a joke with him, discussed our favorite literature, or in some way was able to diminish his pain toward the end of his life. The great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as to what direction we are moving—we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it, but in the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes, “we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.”

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About TRatner

Terry Ratner is a freelance writer, registered nurse, and writing instructor in Phoenix, Arizona. In June of 2004, she graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative nonfiction from Antioch University, Los Angeles. Writing has always served a purpose in her life, but it wasn't until her son died in a motorcycle accident in March, 1999, that she began to publish her works. What's unique about Terry is the way she balances the life of a nurse with the life of a writer. "Nursing allows me to give back to the community and then write about those experiences." Ratner teaches creative writing in a variety of settings from community colleges to a school for homeless children (Thomas J. Pappas) to wellness communities throughout the Valley of the Sun. In 2004, Terry launched an Arts and Healing program for children undergoing dialysis at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center. She has published numerous personal essays, cover stories, interviews, and book reviews for a variety of national and regional publications. Her manuscript, a work in progress, features a series of twelve essays, ten of which are introduced with black and white photos, dealing with issues of family and identity.
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One Response to Tribute to Jack

  1. Joanne Dean says:

    Hi Terry,
    Just started reading your updates. It brings me comfort and peace of mind.
    Tribute to Jack gave me goose-bumps.
    Joanne Dean

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