Nancy Gentry recently reminded me of a tribute I wrote after legendary Portales resident Dallan Sanders, 60, passed away on Sept. 2, 1999, following neck surgery in Albuquerque.
Spookily, due to a glitch, I received my final email from Dallan, titled “The Explanation of Life,” the day after he died.
He wrote, “The surgery is a proven procedure with infinitesimal risk. If I make it through, we will get together and talk about the ‘next dimension.’”
The following is excerpted from that 1999 tribute:
I’ll never get another of Dallan’s famous “Opsimath” business cards. I never knew if it really meant “ability to learn late in life,” or if he was just a bad speller.
Dallan, who often stopped by my house after tending to a blind man down the street, had a premonition and told a Portales doctor he’d never return from Albuquerque.
I asked Mickey, his (late) wife of 41 years, what he would have told me.
“Dallan wasn’t afraid of death,” she said. “He looked forward to it. He loved new experiences, and thought death would be the ultimate experience. He called it the ‘next dimension.’”
Though I sometimes have doubts about an afterlife, in the case of my good friend who spent his life giving the thumbs-up from his green convertible, his belief overpowers my doubt.
His work here was done. It seems fitting that friends are scattering his ashes in the many places he loved. One place just wouldn’t be big enough to hold such a spirit.
Every time I feel the wind coming down and see the stars stretching up toward where life began, I know that Dallan is speeding through the universe on the wings of the next dimension.
Someday, may we all earn the right to join him.
To our Opsimath, Godspeed.
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