Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Gordon Parks Coming Home to Kansas

Gordon Parks will be buried in Fort Scott, Kansas, next week. He will be laid to rest beside his parents.

Parks is well known for his photographs and his books. But he was also a poet, musician, composer and film maker.

Some years ago he spoke at the Dillon Lecture Series. Unfortunately, it was before I was here, so I didn't get to see that.

But he became friends with a woman, Barbara Peirce, who was instrumental in starting that series. I interviewed her many times and she was a dynamo. She died some years ago, long before her years would indicate it was "her time."

When I went to her funeral, they read a poem that Gordon Parks had written for her, remembering their friendship. At the time I thought, "wow, it's good to live your life in such a way that Gordon Parks writes a poem for your memorial service." Barbara was that kind of person.

It's odd how our brains file things. I never hear Gordon Parks' name without thinking of Barbara.

Now they're both gone.

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