He Cared

A while back I had the occasion of standing in front of former Oregon Governor Tom McCall’s grave in the Redmond Memorial Cemetery. I had always wanted to visit the site of this legendary figure’s final resting place, and, finally, here I was, on a bright sunny morning.

At first I was a bit underwhelmed. I expected something much grander, opulent for the greatest governor in Oregon history. I mean, there was no headstone!

His was a simple slab of marble with his beloved wife Audrey next to him. It read “Governor of Oregon,” and it also read “He cared.” A two-word epitaph from a master wordsmith.

He cared. That was it. I thought about that sentence. It doesn’t say he cared for this or that. He just cared.

Because Tom McCall cared for Oregon, and not in an abstract or ideological way, my life was immeasurably improved and keeps improving every time I visit one of Oregon’s public beaches for free.

Where are we today Oregonians?

It didn’t occur me to bring along a flower or swag of Oregon grape to leave behind on the grave. That was wrong.

As I left, I wondered how many people visit this grave a year? Does anyone send flowers to it?