Friday, April 23, 2021

To Old Friends

Yesterday, I received the jarring news that my old friend -- and friend of this blog -- Lance Mannion had passed away in his home from natural causes. 

His was a gentle soul, a man named David who lived and loved his family and did his level best to provide for them (along with his wife, but more on that in a bit) while sharing the stories of his days and his observations.

He was first and foremost a father and husband. Then a writer, then a teacher, then a critiquer. 

I can't call him a critic because he rarely wrote about things that didn't interest him, which means an inordinate amount of his blogging, even to this day of the devolution of the blogosphere, was about his daily existence. 

He continued to blog while maintaining a social media presence, which is where my friendship with him both continued and lagged. I had left the blogosphere but remained on Facebook. 

His posts, both at his site and on Facebook, were wonderfully trivial and homey. In the face of the challenges life had thrown at him, that's saying a lot. 

See, it's easy to sit and complain, expounding on how life gave you lemons but forgot to give you a squeezer for lemonade, but that was not Lance's style. He'd mention something -- his wife's brain trauma, his son's learning disorder -- and it was done. He didn't have to tell us the weight of the world was on his shoulders. He showed us. 

He was antithetical to the Kardashian Society we've surrounded and enveloped ourselves with. He could have been an influencer but chose not to and in so doing, became a greater influencer than the world deserved. 

When I was working full time, and blogging was a distraction, I had a handful of sites I'd visit regularly, even daily: Wonkette, Lawyers Guns & Money, World-O-Crap.

And Lance Mannion. 

That's the company I held him in: funny, informative, off-beat, and all three at the same time. 

And now he's gone. No more "early morning coffee on the porch watching the mist dissolve". No more notes about Pops Mannion, his beloved father who died a few years back, or Oliver (his son) to The Blonde, the irrepressible and alluring Mrs M. 

He could have complained about the plumbing disaster, or helping his family through yet another health crisis, and lobbied for more. Instead, he gave with little thought of what he'd get in return. 

So many of the people we admire and respect have that kind of presence in our lives. They give. And give. And give. 

And in the void that follows in their wake, we wonder how those who received will survive. 

I am especially concerned for his family. Mrs M cannot hold a job and so it's on the two sons to take care of things. The friends of Lance have set up a GoFundMe, a tribute to just how unfair life can be since a man with as much talent and majesty as Lance shouldn't have to worry about providing for his family after he's gone. 

But Lance would explain that societal shortcoming better than I ever could. 

Godspeed, David. You gave me -- us -- so much of yourself. I felt it only appropriate to dust off Blogger and write a post in your memory.