Honoring David W. Ecker
Carleton D. Palmer


            Dave related this anecdote to me at the time, decades ago when his sons were little.

On the subject of mortality, parents of children of a certain age are sometimes faced with the dilemma of communicating a difficult truth while minimizing its trauma.

A member of the Ecker family, but not of the immediate household, had died. Naturally, the younger son wanted to know what that meant, and as a good parent Dave explained in simple terms some of the facts of death, such as that it is shared by all living things.

Being the son of extraordinarily bright people, the child immediately saw the personal implication of that fact. "Does that mean that I'm going to die?" asked the boy.

"Not but after a long, long time," replied Dave, "someday, and after a wonderful life rich in joy and experience, yes, you, too, will die."

The child thought for a moment, and replied, as children sometimes do, cutting through to the immediate and exact core of an issue, "Aw, fat rats!"

Having wrestled for weeks to write a composition that comes to terms with the loss of my dear and brilliant friend David W. Ecker, and to capture something of the hole in my universe left by his absence, I must admit that it is summarily, but well expressed in the words of his child, "Aw, fat rats!"