- John Lewis, U.S. Representative from Georgia 1987-2020
We had planned to have my father's memorial service tomorrow. Today my family, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles would have been winging our way toward Polson, Montana, preparing to celebrate Dad's life and swap stories with loved ones. Though we unanimously agreed to postpone the celebration until a time when we can gather together safely, it's a bittersweet week. COVID has stolen family gatherings from so many across the globe, it leaves a hollow ache, just one more symptom of the pandemic.
I miss Dad. Jules Clavadetscher was an advocate for good trouble and would have loved the above quote from Mr. John Lewis. Dad never backed away from a head-on tackle in high school football, a challenging rock face on our summer hikes, or a tough stance on a thorny issue. His rock-solid moral compass and mind for research (so many folders of his research!) never led him astray during his decades in business or while serving as city council member or mayor for Polson.
Some of his decisions were unpopular. His co-workers at Nissan weren't thrilled when Dad decided that his Massachusetts office would not accept luxurious gift baskets from dealers - too much lobbying tended to muddy the waters, he thought. He decided after much debate to approve a new WalMart in Polson, over many objections (including my own). I don't think people's objections troubled him much. He held fast to standards of his faith, to the moral code he developed throughout his life, and his love for my Mom and the five of us.
Nearly every day I think of how Dad dismissed Donald Trump as a possible spokesperson way back in the 80s. Some ad agency had proposed that Nissan hire Trump for an ad campaign and my Dad immediately nixed the idea. He knew the man was a crook and a shyster over thirty years ago and never changed his mind. Dad, if you're reading this somewhere, you're still right, and could you please do something cosmic to help us out down here?
All jests aside, I'm pondering how and when to get into my own good trouble as the election nears, COVID rates rise, and our unmoored executive - the exact opposite of my Dad in so many ways - leads our country to the edge of a cliff. Dad supported my participation in the Women's March in 2017, and he would support any one of us getting into good trouble now. Once I figure out what to do, I'll dedicate it to his memory, an active witness to the superb life he lived.