FOR THE LOVE OF GEOFFREY: QUALITY FIRST

The people who change your life
aren’t always
the ones you expect.

Sometimes
you don’t even realize a person
is altering the course
of where you’re headed
until a few years and seasons
have passed.

And, even then,
sometimes
it’s only after your paths have
veered apart
that you can clearly see the
imprint
a person has left behind.

On Monday I learned
that one of my
unexpected life-changers
has died.

It’s shocking.
And heartbreaking.

He was only 53.

He was a force of life.
He was kind and generous and funny.
He was incredibly talented.

And he had,
quite possibly,
the. most. impeccable. taste.
of anyone I’ve met.

He’s someone I laughed with
and worked with
and fought with
and struggled through challenges with
and became closer to
because of it.

Throughout the course of the past 23 years,
he’s someone I was able to
create great
and beautiful
work with.

In many ways, he’s the reason
I do what I do today.
And if what I do today is
good
in any way,
it’s in large part
thanks to him.

His name was Geoffrey.

I am so very grateful
for all he taught me
and all we shared.

I was just thinking of calling him
for his birthday.

I was just wondering about
his heart condition.

I hope I told him
how he truly touched my life
in wonderful ways.

I think I probably did?
At various points?
In different ways?

I hope so.

But either way,
he’s gone too soon.

I can’t believe it.
And I will miss him dearly.

But, for all of us who knew him,
and loved him,
his impact lives on.

 

__

A few weeks ago, the framed vintage raspberry print by my stove fell off the wall and cracked. I’ve always liked that picture, even though it’s become grease-stained and faded over the years.

Geoffrey crossed my mind. I knew he wouldn’t approve of its tattered state.

Geoffrey was the creative director I worked with when I was a young, clueless, rookie copywriter and reluctant designer in Boise, Idaho. In the beginning, it was just the two of us and our fearless leader Doug. Soon we had grown into a successful design firm that took on more of the world than we might have expected.

But while we were doing that, we were also shaping and being shaped by each other in ways I know we all still remember.

No one taught me more about the power of simple, understated design. Or clean lines. Or small details. So this weekend, in a cleaning frenzy, I saw the mess that the broken framed vintage raspberry print had become. And I took it down.

By Monday, it was back up.

You see, 15ish years ago, Geoffrey gave me that framed vintage raspberry print. It was a cast-off from his ever-rotating, perfectly curated collection of art, treasures, and curiosities. He was done with it—and if there’s one thing Geoffrey didn’t do, it was hang on to things he was done with.

It’s been with me ever since—partly because I like it and, honestly, partly because it reminds me of Geoffrey.

So the framed vintage raspberry print is back up in my kitchen again. Cracked and stained and a little worse for the wear, but still proclaiming: Quality First.

Which, I just realized today, is a Geoffrey mantra if I’ve ever heard one.

I think I’ll tackle those grease stains and keep it there a while longer.

__
Here’s to loving the ones we’ve lost, friends. And here’s to you, Geoffrey.
xxxooo

Leave a Reply