The last time I saw Jeff was about a month and a half ago. We hung out for a couple of hours and had one of those wonderful, free-wheeling conversations with which anyone who was blessed enough to know Jeff is well-familiar. We talked about city politics (duh), why people vote for Konnie Lukes, why people vote for Phil Palmieri, what Worcester was like in the seventies, his ambivalence towards his English heritage (which I like to think inspired this post), cats, and how awesome Mike Benedetti is.
If you’re reading this blog, it’s likely because of Jeff Barnard. And that’s not just because he’s one of the inspirations for my writing this blog. It’s because he really made it his mission to support and inspire other bloggers. Jeff had more of a readership than any of us, and he used the power of that audience to support the rest of us, whether it be the Worcester blogroll, or the frequent references and links to other bloggers in his posts. When I began writing, I felt a bit shy emailing him to ask to include me on the blogroll. I needn’t have felt that way — Jeff was the kind of writer who was always open to questions and suggestions, and the kind of person who knew how to build a virtual community with real affection and admiration.
To borrow from the words of Tomás Ó Criomhthain:
Ní bheidh a leithéid arís ann.
His like will not be seen again.
(As a further tribute, I composed this post in the most Jeff-worthy internet browser available on the Mac, iCab.)