Thank You Kelly Meagher

4 Dec

When I don’t hear from or about an old friend for a while, I check the obits. Or I check Arts Devo, in the Chico News and Review.

I picked up a copy of the News and Review at the grocery store, in fact, I picked up several copies, cause they are good for all kinds of things. I read them as I spread them out under the sink, under the dog’s dish, as I wrap packages or trash, or as I crumple them into our charcoal chimenea to start our BBQ. The other day as I was getting ready to start a pile of charcoal, I found this announcement in Arts Devo.

Kelly Meagher (11/25/21), environmental activist, philanthropist, Chico icon, beloved local human of the highest order

Also in that issue, a reprint of a pretty good 2011 profile by Tom Gascoyne, another guy I regularly check the obits for. Both of these men have affected my life in ways they probably don’t even realize.

I met Kelly through my old friends Liz Merry and Aaron Standish,

but I knew him because of his “political activism”. Kelly taught me a lot about perseverance, persistence, or, how to get what you want simply by refusing to go away.

My husband and young children used to attend Chico City Council meetings with me, in the old days, there was a lot more public participation in those meetings. Kelly was a regular attendee and speaker. One night I won’t forget – he got into it with Dan Herbert, who could be a real ass on occasion. Herbert tried to argue with Meagher, who was at the podium, and Kelly just kicked his ass. Kelly just held his ground, he wouldn’t let Dan shut him down. I think Herbert finally conceded in about these words: “Kelly, you’ve interrupted me so many times, I can’t remember what I was going to say… you win.” He was laughing as he said it, and very sincere.

I didn’t always agree with Kelly, and he knew that. He was one of the only liberals who never tried to talk me out of a position. In fact, believe or not, he’d often admit that he agreed with me on an issue, despite the stance of the local Democrats. He was the only one of my liberal friends who never got mad and stopped talking to me. We never really talked politics, we just yakked. He just liked me, and I liked him, and politics should never get in the way of a good friendship.

So, I’ll say something sappy here – Thanks Kelly, for your respect and friendship. I feel lucky to have known you, and I’m grateful for the way you treated my kids and the respect you gave my husband. I’m sorry I didn’t try harder to find you over the last few years, but I figured you were enjoying your own time, with your old friends. And, I believe, we carry our friends in our heart. I’ve put one of those special lift chairs in there for you Old Buddy, come on in, take your shoes off, set a spell. I’ll tell you what, I don’t even care if you want to light a cigarette.

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