Friday, May 27

Very Sad Hamster

I just got the news that my friend Chris Tarbell died this evening. I'm blogging because I don't want to drive home while crying.

Seems only natural to talk about Chris.

I met Chris because he took over my job as public access coordinator. He didn't steal my job - I had left it for my own reasons. In fact there was about 6 months that my job was open while they searched for my replacement. So, it isn't like I trained him or anything - but we met when I went by City Hall one day and I stopped in to the studio to say hi.

I believe his first words were "so, this is all your fault" - a theme he repeated for a long time. In fact, when particular community producers would be plucking his last nerve...he would just call me and without any preamble...he would say "this is all your fault." And I would respond "I'm very, very sorry."

We bonded over the shared nuttiness of that job - I was probably the only one who understood the unique stresses and quirks. Sometimes he would call and tell me about something bizarre that one of the producers would do. I think that my very favorite story was about Mr. Ed Boyle. Who was (is? I don't know his current status) quite a character. Ed was the quintessential public access show host - he did a half hour show once a month. He was pretty conservative (in true public access coordinator form - I was Switzerland. The conservatives all thought I was conservative and the liberals all thought I was liberal. I think you probably know the truth) and his show could easily be political or religious in nature. You never really knew what he was going to rail about.

Chris had the best story ever though. Sometimes Ed Boyle would have a guest and they would talk on the topic of the day...but a lot of times it was just Ed and the camera for half an hour. This was one of those solo shows. Chris said that after about 15 minutes of talking, Ed dozed off. At the end of 30 minutes, Chris rolled the credits and went in and woke Ed up. I'm pretty sure that the show aired that way. Makes me smile to remember it.

It's going to be hard knowing that I won't get random texts from him just saying "sup?" That I won't be getting any phone calls that begin "Go Flyers" (to which I must reply "Go Leafs").

It's just too soon. He was barely 40. Dang cancer and double dang chemo.

I'll always have to live with the regret of not spending more time with him. I wish that I had gone over and caught a hockey game with him last month. When will I learn that lesson?

I think he read the Beaten Hamster...pretty sure of it...I hope I gave him a smile from time to time. He sure did that for me.

I often told our friend Kathleen (she was a community producer until the channel converted to government access) before she passed about my vision of heaven. I think that eternity will give us the chance to have dinner with ANYbody and EVERYbody that we could dream of. I hope Chris and Kathleen will have dinner some night in heaven, and think of me.

I miss you my friends.


  1. Dear one ~ caring about you and sorry I am not closer to put my arms around. Take care - even as you cry remember the good times and be grateful you knew him. ~ blessings and butterflies

  2. Very sweet tribute to a special guy. I'm still in disbelief.