If ever there were a person who deserved a commentary like the ones we occasionally do about someone who has died, it would be Jean Case.
And if ever there were I time I couldn’t find the words to write one, it would be now.
I suspect many in the community are like me, still gasping for air, still off balance, still in disbelief over the tragic accident that took the lives of Jean Case and Joyce Smith. Our community hasn’t forgotten the equally tragic loss in April of Gary Alleven. It’s more than a little town such as ours should endure in such a short time.
Jean knew me better than most of the people in her generation, so I think she’d understand. I knew Jean well enough to know that if I tried to write a column solely about her, she’d flash a mock scowl, shake her finger, and say “Don’t you dare!” It’s something she did more than once in our friendship during times we joked together. Jean was so fun to joke around with. I’ll miss those animated, jovial conversations, and so, so much more.
At times like these, I think Marion never should have ditched the motto “Best Place I’ve Seen.” The motto wasn’t really about stone buildings and Central Park. It was about the people who live here. I’ve seen plenty of places in my life, and in the midst of gut-wrenching tragedy that will never ever make sense, this IS the best place I’ve seen for the kind of personal community response and support that helps people get through a tragedy like this together. If Jean were here, she’d be a big part of that.
But she’s not. And the words are so stuck inside a jackhammer couldn’t break them loose. They’ll come soon enough, because I’m here, in the “Best Place I’ve Seen.” I’m home. And at times like these, there’s no place like home.
-- david colburn