Today is eight years since my Grandfather, Chuck Jones, passed away.
It was eight years and three 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 a few moments then, I suppose due to 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 the 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 the 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. –Craig Kausen