Sunday, May 19, 2019

Bishop: A Fifty-year Conversation

When I was a student at Carleton University, 69-70, I had two friends named Steve. One was Steve Bishop, the other Steve Huddart. To simplify things, I just called them by their last names. The Steve above I referred to as Bishop.
I had the best conversations of my life, before and since, with Bishop. I remember late nights basking in the vast beauty of  Steve Miller's Sailor and Vince Guaraldi at Grace Cathedral with him. One of the things we discussed was something we called The Infinite Option Theory. Anything can happen. If something as wondrous as Grace Cathedral could happen, there is no limit to beauty. That's a good idea to have when you're 18. One thing I was never expecting to happen was Bishop's death, which I learned of recently.  Our options are vast, but not infinite. I feel the universe has suddenly become much smaller.
I learned from his obituary that his nieces and nephews called him Uncle Step. Fitting. Any interactions with him were taking steps up, getting a better view.  I've never known anyone with such an expansive perspective.  I've spent most of my life reading, but Bishop read more than me, and brought the width and depth of that learning to all our conversations. Re-reading half a century of his letters, I discover they were all part of continual conversations. Anyone would be lucky to have had such conversations over such a length of time.
With the Toronto Blue Jays playing dismally this year (the last time I visited him in Toronto, we went to the last Jays game of the year, 2006), I no longer have Bishop to give me hope about their eventual triumphs, however distant in the future.  As a creative person, it now seems pointless to write anything new, as my best critic is no longer around to offer constructive criticism. On the other hand, my life has been vastly enriched by the half century of our friendship, and our conversations will echo in my mind as long as I have one. May all of us be so lucky as to have such a friend.