Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Robert Jordan

I knew Robert Jordan by his given name, Jim Rigney, though I didn't know him well. His wife, Harriet McDougal, edited my second Tor book, and when they visited New Mexico in the mid-Eighties, Fred Saberhagen threw them a party. (Thus, in memory, do the dead play host to the dead.) I remember Jim told some interesting stories about his experiences in Vietnam, and also argued in favor of turning the U.S. into a monarchy, under the theory that a strong monarch was the only figure who could restrain the rapacity of the bourgeoisie.

Six or seven years ago Kathy had to do a training course in Charleston, and I flew in to do some sightseeing and to keep her company. I called Harriet just to say hello, and despite the fact that we hadn't seen each other for ten or twelve years, she and Jim very kindly had us to dinner. The roast was lovely, and Harriet's 18th Century antebellum home was spectacular. Jim was a lively and engaging host, and showed us his collection of pipes and netsuke. They had season tickets to the symphony, and gave Kathy a ticket for a night when she was free and they were not. (I would be home by then.) These were small kindnesses, but they were a few among thousands: Jim and Harriet were known for doing good turns to people around them.

I admired Jim's fight with the Reaper, a battle that seemed composed of equal parts pugnacity and good cheer. I doubt I will be quite so good-natured when it's my time.

My condolences to Harriet and the other members of the Rigney circle.

2 Comments:

Anonymous S.M. Stirling said...

That was eloquent, Walter.

10:32 AM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

I very much enjoyed getting to meet Jim and Harriet in Charleston, and I'm very sorry to hear Jim is gone.

--Kathy

1:23 PM  

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