Remembering Kevin

Could’a gone fishing
But then I got thinkin’
The road to the river’s
A mighty long way…

Commemmorating Kevin Mack

I keep saying I knew him less than the other folks in the program—that all I have to remember are isolated moments.  Then I remember that’s always what we have—the moments, few or many, that left an imprint, bent the branch a little, inscribed something on the imagination around which other experiences arrange themselves.

I remember his hands—how he held them widely parallel, as though making a large space for the idea he wanted to convey.  At the last faculty meeting I attended, he gave a report on the PBL program he was helping to launch in Florida.  The combination of excitement and humility—those shining eyes, those open hands—moved me.  People speak of his passion for medical education—so often these days the phrase is in danger of melting into cliché.  But to witness it was to see how love fuels the intelligence that fuels action—one act after another until something is begun that others continue.

I remember his serving food at a curriculum committee, how he came early and set up full plates of aram sandwiches and chips and salad—hard to eat gracefully at a meeting.  After the meeting two of us helped him gather up what remained to take to the break room for students.  He seemed as eager and pleased to be the bearer of leftovers as he was to bring the freshly piled plates an hour earlier.  Both were gifts.  Nothing was wasted.  It seems a little cheesy to compare people to Jesus, but it did at the time and does now make me think of Jesus at the feeding of the 5000 when he aid, gather what is left.  And there were 12 baskets.

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