Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Remembering Blair Fox

One of the truly consequential people in my life will depart the living earth today or perhaps tomorrow or maybe even the next day. But there is no reason to expect it will be longer than that.

Blair Fairchild Fox, son of Jill and Joe Fox, brother of Logan, Jeff (himself too deceased) and Michael Fox

Child of Guard Hill Road, Bedford NY, he grew up in a house down the hill from his grandmother's larger Georgian mansion. He came into his teenage years in the early 1970s. 

Speaking of his teenage years, he lived in a tenement on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with a buddy when he was probably 16. Those were different times.

He joined the Navy, was sent to Australia, broke his neck in an auto accident while on base and was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. The year was 1976. He was 18. 

Our lives intersected many times over the decades to follow.

I remember visiting him with my dad and Jill at the VA hospital in Roxbury, Mass. when he returned stateside shortly thereafter.

He lived for a while in an apartment building on West End Avenue that also housed folk singer Judy Collins.

He spent much time in Vermont, and lived for many years on Benvenue Avenue in Berkeley, California. I had many a good glass of wine over there in the late 1980s. 

He then moved himself to Austin, Texas. It was warmer in Texas. Too cold in the Bay Area, that chilly kind of cold that gets into your bones.

Blair's body has finally given out on him. He dodged many a bullet over the years. By some measures, he lived decades longer than anyone predicted he might, but none of us lives forever and Blair did not find a way to be exempted from that rule. 

You won't find much about him on paper. He wasn't that kind of person. But for anyone lucky enough to interact with him, he was nothing short of amazing. An amazing life lived by an amazing human being. 

This past weekend, I walked boots-deep into a streamlet in central Massachusetts and poured out some Prosecco and scattered some sheep poop. It was the only way I could think to honor the man. Sheep poop is a wonderful fertilizer. Ashes to ashes kind of thing. Then yesterday, I asked a guitarist to play the Grateful Dead song Ripple to remember him by. The final line of the song is thus

If I knew the way, I would take you home.

Blair Fox