Recently Tom's book of essays was published by the university press, and he gave me an inscribed copy. Now his magnum opus was a huge tome, a comprehensive study of Ohio plants. He worked on that one for years and it was the culminating work of his academic career, a scholarly volume for botanists to study and use as a reference.
This new book is a collection of essays, suitable for the layperson, focusing on the flowering plants and trees just around the Kent community. It relates how certain plants came to this area via the glaciers thousands of years ago, historical vignettes of early cultivation and the appearance and disappearance of certain native and non-native species.
One of the highlights of Tom's research around Kent, was his discovery of a bog full of tamarack trees, the largest stand of those trees in Ohio. They are deciduous fir trees, which shed their needles every fall. They don't really belong here but were brought down from the far north by the last glacier to crawl over Ohio - before it was Ohio. The bog is named for Tom and is a delightful place now, with a fine boardwalk and all kinds of interesting plant life, fortunately labeled for those of us who are botanically challenged. It is is also a great obscure connection to fame for whose of us who know him. I mean, how many people can say that they know the namesake of an eponymous bog?
When I went to pick up the book at their home, we had a great conversation about our younger days, when we were part of a lively group of social animals. Tom said that we were the Bright Young Things of the university community. I don't know about that, but I do know that we had such a good time with a group of such good people. Unfortunately, Tom and Mixie and I are pretty much the only ones left, and we are hardly the social butterflies of yesteryear. We miss our old friends a lot, but we revived some fine memories the other day. One of the disadvantages of getting old is losing people, so that you know more dead people than live people, and you don't get to spend so much time with the live ones still around.
And on that cheerful note, I close this post.